This Weekend…

So… a little overfed are we this Thanksgiving evening? No problem. The perfect solution is waiting for you at Black Bayou NWR!

Here’s some special events the next two days to get you back in shape:

Friday, November 24th 10 AM – Black Friday Ranger Hike. Join the ranger for a leisurely 3 miles hike to work off that turkey and stay away from the stores.

Friday, November 24th – 11 AM – Guided Canoe Trip. Call 387-1114 to reserve a canoe/kayak $10/person

Saturday, November 25th – 10AM – Guided Canoe Trip. Call 387-1114 to reserve a canoe/kayak $10/person

No matter the season, Black Bayou NWR always has something interesting and beautiful to offer.

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Two weeks ago, the cypress needles were still turning that wonderful golden copper color. (Photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

Coming in January!

I am delighted to announce that Chris Doffitt, Field Biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, will be our guest at our January LMN-NE meeting. Chris will speak to us about Louisiana’s Natural Areas Registry program.

Little Bluestem (red & yellow vars.)
Clumps of red and yellow varieties of Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) grow side by side on private land near Eunice, La. “Bluestem” is the title of the Natural Areas Registry’s newsletter. (Photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

The Registry program was created in 1987. It enables Louisiana to recognize, encourage and support citizens in making valuable contributions to preserving our state’s rich natural heritage. Chris will explain how the program works, answer questions and help us as naturalists to be advocates for our natural areas.

Our January meeting is scheduled Tuesday, January 9, 6:30 – 8 p.m., at the Black Bayou NWR Visitor’s Center. For those who are members of LMN-NE, attendance will count towards your 30 hours of required service/education in 2018.

The meeting is open to all who are interested in Master Naturalists. Bring friends! This will be a great introduction to our organization and the learning opportunities we will provide.

Here’s a link to Chris’ online profile: Chris Doffitt.



Chemin-A-Haut State Park

Boring announcement at the bottom. Keep reading!

I mentioned in the last post that charter board member Jeff Barnhill is an avid explorer of natural areas. Chemin-A-Haut in Morehouse Parish near the Arkansas state line is one of his favorite sites. He also takes beautiful pictures!

Chemin 1

Jeff tells a fascinating story about how we almost lost this amazing place. Here it is in his words:

“Around 2005, the Morehouse Lake Commission was formed and there was a push to dam the creek at the bayou creating a lake. I saw the plans. Imagine what would have been lost here. I was dealing with chemo and radiation, but still found old canoe pictures on the creek, scanned them and made it known that there were old growth Bald Cypress here. The big hollow tree is dated at 1,000+ years old.

A lake isn’t going to happen now that people know what’s here. I’m sure many didn’t know what was here since access was difficult especially with no trail along the lake, but a lesson should have been learned about looking before you leap.”

Chemin 2

Here’s the 1000+ year old tree, back view. To see the front of it you must be in a canoe, and Jeff has done that, too. In fact, if you find him on Facebook, which I highly recommend, you will see that his profile photo is of him, in his canoe, with his canoe inside the hollow of this tree.

Chemin 3

Jeff says that these Water and Shagbark Hickory trees are a little past their prime fall color, but it’s still a gorgeous photo.

And now that you’ve enjoyed these lovely photos and a cool story about a naturalist at work (way to go, Jeff), here’s my announcement: The charter LMN-NE Board of Directors has a meeting scheduled at which we will elect officers, adopt by-laws and take care of other bureaucratic stuff so we can open a bank account, take online memberships and really get rolling.

Hang in, folks. We’re getting there!


Charter Board Formed

Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast is delighted to announce that our charter Board of Directors has been formed.

Our statewide parent organization, Louisiana Master Naturalists Association, requires a a 5-member charter board to be in place in order to apply for a matching start-up grant. Our five members are:

Jeff Barnhill – retired; avid explorer of natural areas

Nova Clarke – Ranger, Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge

Stuart Hodnett – Executive Director, Ouachita Green

Bette Kauffman – retired; lifelong wannabe biologist

Stephanie Herrmann – Director, Union Parish Library

I was going to tell you a bit more about these folks, but I’ve misplaced a couple of emails, so I’ll leave that for later and try to do a brief profile of each Board member.

We will be seeking to add additional Board members in the coming year in order to reach the number required by our by-laws, yet to be adopted. In the meantime, we are negotiating via email to find a time to meet in the next few weeks.

Our first orders of business will be to elect officers, adopt by-laws and apply for a start-up grant from our statewide parent organization, Louisiana Master Naturalists Association.



Outdoor Ethics Training

Traveling trainers will visit Black Bayou NWR Nov. 18 to conduct “Leave No Trace” Outdoor Ethics training Nov. 18, 10 a.m. – 12 Noon. The workshop will be in the Learning Center and is free and open to all.

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Cypress Grove                                                                 (Photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

The trainers will discuss how you can apply the seven “leave no trace” principles and also share them with others.

For members of Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast, attendance at this training will count toward your required 30 hours of education and/or service activities for your first year of membership. A sign-in sheet especially for you will be available at the training so we will have a record of your attendance.

Of course, the training is great for anyone who cares about the environment and is willing to learn and act to keep it cleaner. Please come!

More information about Leave No Trace is available at their website.