What fun to have two events in a single weekend, but all the more fun that one of them is our first ever experiential certification project presentation! Roselie Overby is the candidate for certification and will lead our experience.

Sunday at 2 p.m. join us at Tensas River NWR headquarters, 2312 Quebec Road. That’s a Tallulah mailing address, but for our purposes, in case you’ve never been to Tensas, you can also put it into your GPS. Please note on the map that you must exit I-20 at Waverly and travel a few miles further east on Hwy 80 before turning south on Quebec Road, which takes you into the refuge.

Directions to Tensas River NWR headquarters. (This map is based on a fragment of a Google map.)

We will meet at the headquarters building, which has an ample parking area. After brief introductory comments, we will move to Africa Lake, one of the most interesting features of this diverse, wildlife-rich refuge. It will be important for a few people to pool together in vehicles for the short drive to Africa Lake because the parking area there is quite small.

We will hike a mile or so as time allows, with Roselie sharing some history and natural history of the refuge. This area is mixed bottomland hardwood and bald cypress, with diverse plant life and fungi. Roselie has spotted ‘gators in the lake and a variety of tracks in the soft ground, including deer, raccoon and, possibly, coyote. Snake sightings are also possible. Fall flowers are blooming and birds are migrating.

Question Mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis), photographed in the Africa Lake parking area, 6/12/21, by Bette J. Kauffman.

This sounds like a wonderful opportunity to do something we haven’t done in awhile, namely create a species list after the hike. So I’m commissioning everyone who can come to bring a notepad and help me keep track. It’s going to be impressive.

Remember also that a committee of three will evaluate Roselie’s presentation but all members of LMN-NE are encouraged to complete and submit our evaluation form for the committee’s consideration. (Forms will be distributed via email.)

To fully enjoy this hike, be prepared! The weather is predicted to be warm and sunny, and the area is usually muddy. You’ll need footwear that can deal with mud, insect repellent, protection from the sun and plenty of water.

We are also required to sign in to the refuge using one of the orange cards for that purpose at the refuge sign at the corner of Quebec and Mill Roads.

Finally, refuge buildings are still closed due to the pandemic, thus there are no restroom facilities. Plan accordingly! Of course, the hardy can also take advantage of “facilitrees”!

Just a reminder: The other event this weekend is the Jungle River Litter Pick, 7 – 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Restoration Park.

Note: I’ll be happy to take up to three fully vaccinated people in my car for the short drive from headquarters to Africa Lake. We will wear masks in the car as a precaution. We will physically distance outdoors and if you are more comfortable wearing a mask the whole time, do so. We will have a sign-in sheet that also constitutes a liability waiver.

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