Our Events Committee has been at work! And they have a lot of great ideas. Here’s what’s coming:

Feb. 13, 9:45 – Noonish: Trillium Walk & GBBC – Calling all birders to join us on the Trillium Walk! It turns out that Saturday, Feb. 13, falls within the dates of the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count. So we’re going to participate. In addition to spotting trillium, red buckeye and crane fly orchids (see header photo), we will be looking and listening for birds.

I plan to be at the entrance to the Charles Allen Nature Preserve by 9:30 a.m. We want to walk into the woods at 10 sharp. Please see my earlier post here for a map and details. Again I encourage some of you to make plans to meet in Columbia to leave a vehicle in the parking lot there and carpool out to the Preserve, where parking is limited.

BTW, I called the town of Columbia, which bought the property from ULM last year. They are excited that we are using this natural area as intended.

March 7, 2020, 2 p.m.: First Quarter Meeting – Zoom will be the venue for our first quarter meeting this year. (It is my hope and prayer that by 2nd Quarter we will be able to meet in person! But we will stay safe…)

That’s Erin with the giant scissors opening the newly refurbished alligator exhibit at Black Bayou Lake NWR. Photo by the News Star.

The Events Committee has invited Erin Cox, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Refuge Coordinator over several refuges in our area to be our speaker. Erin will give us an overview of the USFWS, then zero in on the refuges she manages and what we can do to help in fulfilling our mission as conservationists and educators on conservation. After Erin’s presentation, we will have a brief business meeting.

In planning: The Events Committee shared ideas they are working on and I am delighted and excited. These include:

Dec. 5 – Fourth Quarter meeting at Kiroli Park, hosted by our own Stuart Hodnett, who now is parks coordinator for West Monroe. In addition to our meeting, we will go birding in the park. Of course, some of us will also be distracted by the other flora and fauna of the park! Details to come.

Second & Third Quarterly Meetings – These will probably be in May and October respectively. Ideas being considered include asking our own Kelby Ouchley and his brother Keith Ouchley of the Nature Conservancy to lead us on an expedition to the Molicy Unit. Yes!

Additional ideas for meetings or seasonal events include asking Gary Stringer to tell us about his whales at the ULM Museum and inviting the new manager at Tensas NWR to talk about the refuge and the bears.

Is there anything in the above that does not totally excite you? I am so on board with all of this and deeply grateful to the Events Committee for their leadership. Here’s who they are: Charles Paxton, Chair, Suzanne Laird Dartez, Stuart Hodnett, Amy Ouchley, Ann Smith. Kim Paxton took notes for them because, you know, with the Paxtons you usually get a two-fer!

Woohoo! It’s gonna be a good year.

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