Coming soon!

Our First Quarter 2018 meeting is just around the corner:

January 9, 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Black Bayou NWR Visitor Center

We will have a guest speaker: Chris Doffitt of Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries will talk with us about Lousiana’s Natural Areas Registry program.

After Chris’ presentation and discussion, we will have a half hour meeting. I’ll publish an agenda next week. All are welcome to participate in the meeting, but only dues-paying members may vote–should we need to vote on anything.

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Great Blue Heron, Tensas NWR     (photo by Bette Kauffman)

And why a photo of a Great Blue Heron in the middle of this post? Last week I needed to go to St. Joseph one day, so I went down Hwy 425, turned east on Hwy 4, and drove up the Fina Road Access into the south end of Tensas NWR. Just as I approached a bridge over the Tensas River, I noticed a blue heron on the other side of the road at the edge of the woods.

There was a little space to pull over on the approach to the bridge, so I did, and carefully lowered my window to make a few shots. The bird just stood there and looked at me, so I decided to get out of my car. I slowly, carefully opened the door and stood up, at which point the bird hobbled and flopped into the woods.

Clearly, the bird was injured and could not fly. It was heartbreaking to see. Not wanting to stress the bird more than I already had, I did not attempt to follow.

But… should I have called Wildlife & Fisheries? In general, what should we do, if anything, when we see injured wildlife? I intend to ask Chris to talk about that at our meeting.

See you there!


Today LMN-NE Treasurer Stephanie Herrmann and I put our heads together and made a big improvement to the website. You can now become a member online!

Read the remainder of my post, first, of course. But then click on the Membership tab at the top of the page. You will see Paypal buttons for each of our membership categories: Student – $10; Individual – $20; Family – $30; and Business/Corporate – $100. Click the button associated with the appropriate category and you can either pay with funds in a Paypal account if you have such, or by entering a credit or debit card.

Please do complete the mailing address information. Doing so makes it unnecessary for you to complete a membership form.

Important note: We do not yet have our 501(c)(3) status. It shouldn’t be much longer, but in the meantime, know that your membership dues will not be tax deductible.

I also am pleased to announce that Charter Board Member Roselie Overby is our Membership Chair. You will probably hear from Stephanie or I right away, but Roselie will send you an official “welcome to the organization” email.

Your membership year begins January 1, 2018. Don’t hesitate. Join today!

And, of course, I had my camera along and went for a short walk in the woods near Farmerville after our work was done. How DO sweetgum trees do that, anyway?!

American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) (photo by Bette Kauffman)

Gulf Coast Adventure

This space will be used primarily for explorations of the natural areas of the northeast corner of Louisiana–our service area. However, I spent several days last week in the southwest corner of the state–one of those days driving the Creaole Nature Trail (Highway 27)–and thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the sights.

The west leg of the Trail goes from Sulphur, La., straight south through the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge to Holly Beach on the Coast. The Sabine offers at least two worthwhile stops: the Blue Goose Trail, which extends east from Highway 27 to the edge of Lake Calcascieu, and the Wildlife Walkway, a boardwalk through the wetlands to the west of Highway 27.

Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)
Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)  (photo by Bette Kauffman)

A word to the wise: Do the Blue Goose Trail in the winter! I tried once in summer and the flying insects beat me back before I got to the lake. Awful! I could not breath without inhaling a bug or two. This time I made it to the lake, and encountered blooming Cherokee roses on the way, as well as green hawthorn bushes that were blooming and fruiting at the same time.

From Holly Beach I drove straight east and stopped at the Cameron Pier Jetty. There to my surprise I encountered what I recognized immediately as goldenrod, blooming in the sand just yards back from the surf. Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) was a brand new species for me, and a fun addition to my wildflower photo collection.

Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)
Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)       (photo by Bette Kauffman)

Driving up the eastern leg of the Trail, I stopped at the Pintail Wildlife Drive & Boardwalk, and there encountered a crested caracara (Caracara cheriway). My first thought was “big hawk or small eagle,” thus I was particularly tickled to learn that in Texas and Mexico, this bird is called “Mexican Eagle.” This was another new species for me, and a great addition to my bird photo collection.

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)
Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)    (photo by Bette Kauffman)

All in all? A fabulous day. I highly recommend it.

We have an intern!

Folks, meet Grace Srichantra, our brand new and first ever communication intern. As you can see by her “talons out,” she is a go getter.


Grace is a student in Public Relations at ULM. This past semester, I was invited to speak to one of the classes I used to teach. I spoke of the importance of internships, and after class, Grace contacted me and asked to get involved. That is exactly how it should happen!

For her first assignment, Grace will do some research to learn more about Master Naturalists in general, and our Northeast chapter in particular. The first project she will help me with is our January media blitz.

Yes! It is time for us to go public in a big way. Grace and I discussed timing and agreed we should wait until after the holiday fuss is over. Using our January members meeting with guest speaker Chris Doffitt of Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries as news hook, we will issue press releases and schedule appearances on community oriented media programs.

Welcome aboard, Grace! So glad to have you.

Oh, and BTW, Grace’s name is pronounced pretty much just like it looks: “Sree CAN truh.”