Two February events to get on your calendar, both at the Union Parish Museum of History and Art, in conjunction with their “WILD!” exhibit featuring the work of nine regional wildlife artists, including our own Charles Paxton:

Kelby Ouchley

Kelby Ouchley, noted local wildlife biologist, author and radio personality, will talk about American alligators Thursday, February 1 at 4:30 p.m. at the Museum. Ouchley wrote a book on the subject titled American Alligator: Ancient Predator in the Modern World. He draws upon more than 30 years of experience with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and he was instrumental in the establishment of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

I’m sure many of you have also heard Kelby on KEDM Public Radio with his “Bayou Diversity” show. These essays have also been collected into the book Bayou-Diversity: Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country.

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American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) & Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)     (photo by Bette Kauffman)

The second event to put on your calendar features “yours truly.” I will speak at the museum February 17 at 1 p.m. about Louisiana Master Naturalists. Thanks to Stephanie Herrmann, our LMN-NE Treasurer, for suggesting this. I’ll make another post about this event in a couple of weeks.

Union (Parish) Museum of History and Art is located at 116 N. Main Street, Farmerville, in the Union Chamber of Commerce building. For more information, call 318-348-2005.

YAY! 501(c) Request & More…

I will not bore you with the saga. It’s done. Our request for recognition of exempt status as a nonprofit has been filed with the IRS. But…. if any of you ever hear me considering out loud starting another new nonprofit that requires applying for 501(c)(3) status, please tie me up and gag me until the impulse passes!

You’ll recall that a few weeks ago, I photographed a great blue on the Tensas NWR that I recognized was injured when it flopped and hobbled into the woods. The “more” I want to share with you today is the information I got from Chris Doffitt about what to do if we see injured wildlife.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries maintains a list of Wildlife Rehabilitators on its website and calls upon these people when injured wildlife is reported to them. I have now perused the list and it turns out we have several people in our area: Dale Barry of Monroe rescues raptors, Carmon James of Monroe rescues small mammals, Keith Cascio of West Monroe rescues mammals.

I plan to contact these folks and ask them to speak at one of our quarterly meetings. If any of you happen to know any of them personally, please let me know.

Would you like to become a wildlife rehabilitator? Then the LDWF has a Wildlife Rehabilitation Program for you! Check it out. I think that would be a great thing for a Master Naturalist to do.

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This great blue heron on the Tensas NWR looked fine, until I got out of my car and it flopped and hobbled into the woods.


Certification Begins

If you have attended any meetings or perused this website, you know that Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast is a chapter of the statewide Louisiana Master Naturalists Association.

LMNA web banner

Although we as a chapter will do things that are not directly related to certification, producing Certified Master Naturalists is part of our mission. If you are interested in becoming a certified Master Naturalist, put this event on your calendar NOW:

1st Certification Workshop, March 10, 2018

This first workshop will equip participants with some basic skills they will need to become Master Naturalists, including but not limited to outdoor ethics, observation, journaling/recording in words and images, interpretation, contributing to databases such as iNaturalist, and more.

All of the details have not yet been settled, but the workshop will be 5-6 hours at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge and will include both classroom and field time. Participants need to be prepared to walk! Nova Clarke, BBNWR Ranger, and me, Bette Kauffman, will be primary workshop leaders, but I am also pursuing a 3rd person to help with some aspects.

Because the skills taught at this workshop are so basic to everything else, this will be a required workshop. If you want to become a Master Naturalist, you must complete this workshop.

More information about the certification program and this first workshop will be forthcoming. For now, just get it on your calendar!


Doffitt Contact Info

Chris Doffitt, LDWF

Chris Doffitt, field botanist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, who spoke about the Natural Areas Registry Program at our Tuesday evening First Quarter Members’ meeting, would be very happy to hear from any of us or our friends who might need more information about the program. Here’s his contact info:

Telephone: 318-487-5885, ext. 3424

Email: chris.doffitt@la.gov

“Bluestem” is the name of Registry Program’s newsletter. An archive of issues is available online.


Those of you who could not attend missed an excellent presentation. Chris has offered and we will call on him again. Thanks, Chris.

“Wild!” – art for naturalists

We had an excellent meeting Tuesday evening. Many thanks to Chris Doffitt of LDWF, our speaker, and everyone who came out. I came home very aware that I had promised many blog posts about a variety of things, and this is the first of those.

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Sabine NWR     (Photo by Bette Kauffman)

In its own words, Union (Parish) Museum of Art and History “will come roaring to life with its next exhibit, ‘Wild!‘ featuring wildlife art.” The exhibit will open January 31. The works of nine regional artists will be displayed, as well as art by local students.

Our own Charles Paxton, who did not tell us he is also an artist! will screen his new video featuring North Louisiana wildlife. Charles, you must be sure to let us know exactly when the screening will take place!

The Union Museum is located at 116 N. Main St. in Farmerville. The “Wild!exhibit will remain up until March 17. Visit the Museums website or Facebook page for more information.

Special note: My photo with this post is for visual interest only. It is not part of the exhibit.