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Surveys in the Lower Ninth Ward

June 14, 2010

By J. Ashleigh Ross

I am back in New Orleans for my fourth summer as part of the UW-NOLA research time and loving it. The new class format is based on a four week stand-alone course model instead of the year long: orientation, field season, and report write-up, has allowed us to operate and one large group instead of smaller research divisions. From Sunday to Tuesday we surveyed the neighborhood as part of our “social science” portion of the course.

On Monday we surveyed both with our traditional neighborhood survey and our new Bayou Bienvenue platform intercept survey. The traditional neighborhood surveys are conducted every summer and we aim to complete between 30 and 50. For these surveys, groups of two go out into the neighborhood and knock on doors and ask people to participate in the survey. We are collecting data on the socio-environmental story, knowledge and historical use of BBWT. It is always a lot of fun to get out and talk with the neighborhood about their knowledge and relationship to the local environment. Sometimes the surveys can take up to 2 hours because they can be very conversational and I always learn so much during survey conversations.

The new intercept surveys are designed to document and quantify visitation and use of the BBWT. We ask survey respondents how they heard about the BBWT and how they use it. The goal of this survey is to provide frequency and use data to the Army Corps of Engineers and Tulane’s Center for Bioenvironmental Research center. The Army Corps has expressed interest in expanding the existing platform and has asked us to find out, via the intercept survey, which improvements would be most useful and desirable for users. We plan to deliver the preliminary results to the community and the Army Corps on Thursday, June 10th.

The best thing about the surveys is the direct usefulness to the larger Bayou Bienvenue restoration project. As a student, teaching assistant, and a practitioner-in-training of Community Based Research, I always appreciate assignments that are directly useful and/or relevant. Partnering with the larger community provides a significant and hands-on learning experience. It is very gratifying to know that our efforts may impact the restoration efforts.

2 Comments leave one →
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