And that’s good news! Congratulations to Bette Kauffman, Charles Paxton, and Kim Paxton. The certification projects they presented Sunday afternoon, July 11, were judged good to go. Each of us got valuable feedback, so here’s a few details.

Kim Paxton lead off the presentations with “Healing Nature.” She cited research that documents the health benefits of time spent in the woods, and presented quotes and points from those studies on an attractive trifold display. Moreover, she mentioned science that documents the negative consequences of “nature deprivation.”

We have already decided…, Ok, truth: I decided her work needs to be turned into a public service brochure that we can hand out. Kim and Charles have produced a draft. Here’s a screen capture of the outside of the brochure.

Kim's project brochure

Kim’s project trifold remains on display at Black Bayou Lake Education Center, so if you’re out that way, stop and have a look.

Bette Kauffman went second and is, first of all, very grateful that people tolerated her Power Point presentation that went longer than it was supposed to! That was, in part, because the nature of the project expanded a bit from its inception. In looking into the natural history of Camp Hardtner, she found an important connection to the larger history of the lumber boom at the turn of the 20th Century in Louisiana, and the resulting devastation of our forests.

So the project is now titled “Camp Hardtner: 100+ Years of Restoration,” and that’s a bigger story than this post can handle! She is still working on getting Camp Hardtner into the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program, and to that end, she and LDWF agent Chris Doffitt have tentatively identified three “natural communities” at Camp Hardtner.

CH Natural Coms slide

Each of these areas exhibits characteristics and has species identified with it. The “Glade” especially caught the attention of Arthur Liles, who has already provided interesting resources that will inform additional work on this project. Is it a “sandstone glade” or a “calcareous prairie”? That’s a really good question that needs to be answered.

For now, work on the project continues and this presentation is available to groups that might be interested in not just Camp Hardtner, but how lumber became a sustainable industry in Louisiana and/or restoration projects in general.

Charles Paxton was the third presenter and his film project an instant hit. “Why join Louisiana Master Naturalists Northeast?” is jam-packed with gorgeous, compelling images and solid information, not only about who we are and what, why and where we do what we do, but also about the natural history and current state of Louisiana’s awesome natural resources.


Wait a minute. Is that black bear wearing a fig leaf? Yup! Added by Charles, of course. So there’s a good laugh in the film as well.

Scenes from our first series of certification workshops and our quarterly meetings occur throughout the film, interspersed with Charles’ fabulous wildlife photography. And on the soundtrack near the end, the mating roar of a bull alligator! What an awesome touch!

Charles has a few corrections to make to the film–e.g., names mispelled or wrong–and the audience uniformly called for it to be stretched out a bit to give us a little more time with some of the images. So… what we expect to be in final cut about a 20-minute film will be up on this website for all to watch as soon as Charles can get it finished.

All in all, a grand day! Thank you again to our jury of Nova Clarke, Arthur Liles and Amy Ouchley. And don’t forget the next one! Kalem Dartez and Suzanne Laird Dartez will present their projects in the Education Center at Black Bayou Lake NWR Sunday afternoon, August 11, at 2:30 p.m.

One thought on “Certifiable!

  1. Thank you very much, Bette! Also thanks to the panel of judges and all the supportive feedback. Kimmie and I enjoyed your presentation a lot and related your topic to our Pastor last night and he was well impressed. He’d heard of Camp Hardtner, but your work with Chris Doffit was a whole new angle.

    So, congratulations to you too for a very interesting presentation that really brings together all the threads of what we can do as a group, it shows the lasting, real-world value of recording observations via iNaturalist in a collaborative project, adding to the pages of Louisiana’s history of conservation. We’re looking forward to the next presentations too.

    Liked by 1 person

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