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(New Orleans, La.) - The New Orleans Pelicans and Audubon Nature Institute have teamed up with multi-award-winning children's book author Johnette Downing and illustrator Heather Stanley to encourage reading and connect children with the beauty and importance of Louisiana's wetlands through their new book, Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh.

The picture book represented the State of Louisiana at the National Book Festival last month in Washington, D.C., and the official book launch will take place at the Louisiana Book Festival on October 29, 2016 at the State Library in Baton Rouge with First Lady Donna Edwards reading from the book to the children on festival day.

There are more than 220 authors, panelists, and other participants and more than 150 programs scheduled for this year. The event is free and open to the public, and it is the largest book festival in the state of Louisiana.

"Partnerships like the one between Audubon Nature Institute and the New Orleans Pelicans makes a tremendous impact on our children and eventually our communities," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. "The donation of this wonderful book to the public libraries of Louisiana is yet another down-payment on a stronger, better future for Louisiana. I am looking forward to the book launch at the Louisiana Book Festival this upcoming weekend, and I thank these organizations for their support of our state."

Published by Pelican Publishing, proceeds from Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh support wetland education initiatives. A "Friend a Pelican" pledge is included in the book to empower children to be good stewards of the environment. The book is currently available for purchase at all Audubon gift shops, and Barnes & Noble.

Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh is a heartwarming story about a pelican and his wetland friends. When it's time for Petit Pierre to leave the pelican nest and find a home of his own, he is in a quandary as to where to live. With the help of wetland animals and plants, Petit Pierre discovers that the diversity of the wetlands provides the perfect environment to make a home.

With a primary focus on education, the New Orleanas Pelicans work with Audubon to teach children about coastal restoration in a fun and engaging manner.

Louisiana is facing a land loss crisis and risks losing 1,750 square miles of land, equivalent to more than 10 million basketball courts. Both the Pelicans and Audubon Nature Institute recognize that coastal Louisiana is in jeopardy and believe that this cause is of the utmost importance for the economic future of the state and region.

Visit Audubon Nature Institute's Newsroom for more information.

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Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.