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New Plan!

The certification workshop we had planned for Saturday, Oct. 29, had to be cancelled. We will meet anyway, at 9 a.m. at Black Bayou Lake Environmental Education Center. This will be a free “family fun” day. All are welcome.

David Hoover will present his certification project called “Snakes Alive.” It is fun and informative, and if you have a bit of a snake phobia you want to get beyond, this presentation will help you do that.

Refuge volunteer Jim holds “Grouchy,” one of the Refuge’s two Louisiana pine snakes.

After David’s talk, we will ask the refuge volunteer, Jim, to get one or two of the Louisiana pine snakes out of their tanks for anyone who would like to try touching or holding a snake. I will fill in a bit of information about the current plight of the Louisiana pine snake: Why it is a valuable snake and how it became an endangered species.

We will also go for a walk on the refuge and share information about what we see. Black Bayou Lake NWR never disappoints! There’s always something fun and interesting to see and talk about.

Bring your own snacks, lunch and water. Dress to be outdoors and walk. The weather is predicted to be beautiful: mostly sunny with a high in the 80s.

This will be a relaxed day with no obligation to stay to the very end.

Fall Celebration

Come on out to Black Bayou Lake NWR tomorrow (Sat., 10/15). It’s Fall Celebration time!

Fall Celebration is the annual event of Friends of Black Bayou. LMN-NE will be there and a number of our members helping with various things.

This female anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) lives at BBL and often poses patiently for my camera.

Activities begin with a nature walk at 9 a.m. The LMN-NE table will have coloring pages for kids and our great t-shirts for sale. We also have bingo cards, and if you walk the boardwalk and see some of the critters on our bingo card, you could win a cool sticker. Great fun for the kids!

Our member Anne Frazer will be next to us with her Climate Change display and activities. More fun and educational as well.

Of course, we have gators! But only at night do you see the red in the eye. This was an after dark “frog walk” by special permission of the Refuge. We’ll do it again. Come along!

The zoo will be on hand as usual, and you might get to pet one of the snakes that live in the Environtmental Learning Center. Don’t worry, they’re non-venomous and accustomed to humans.

I hear the food trucks will be fab and that a concoction called “Black Bayou Mud Pies” will be served. Yay! I hope mud = chocolate!

Fall Celebration has been on hiatus due to the pandemic, so this will be a big, beautiful celebration of being together again at our fave refuge. Admission is free. Don’t miss it!

3Q Meeting

We will meet Sunday, September 11, 3-6 p.m. This will be an all-members quarterly meeting, but as always friends who are interested are welcome to attend, observe and participate in every way except vote, should we need to vote.

We will meet at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, 3706 Bon Aire Dr., in the pavilion overlooking Bayou Desiard. Many will recall that this is where we met in December for our holiday party and 2021 4Q meeting.

Our speaker will be one or more members of St. Thomas’, who will talk about the congregation’s goals in making their 2-lot site a natural area for the community. You might want to bring a lawn chair for the presentation and meeting.

Back in December, we talked about helping. The first step to doing that is assessing what is already there. To that end, we will spend some time after our meeting beginning to identify species of plants and critters. David and Bette will meet ahead of time to create an assessment project on iNaturalist so that we will have an official record of what’s there. David is also looking into natural history signage that would enhance the educational value of the site as a natural area.

I don’t know if the Cooper’s hawks have been sighted recently, but here’s hoping!

Right now, the forecast for Sunday includes 47% chance of scattered thunderstorms and 86 degrees, so we might not get a lot of identifying done. That’s fine. We can start!

See you the 11th! And please check on someone we haven’t seen for awhile. A phone call from another member can be the difference between someone drifting away and returning to active participation.

Upcoming

Sept. 11, 3:30 pm – Our 3rd Quarter meeting will be at St. Thomas’ on the Bayou, where we were for our Christmas Party last year. We will use the occasion to learn more about the church’s Care of Creation efforts and begin identifying species along the bayou and walking path.

At last year’s 4th Quarter meeting at St. Thomas’, Kelby Ouchley teaches us how to identify an Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) by its leaf petiole. This kind of information is a prime example of the educational signage this natural area needs.

Oct. 15, 10-1 – We will have a couple of tables at Friends of Black Bayou’s Fall Celebration, one with Master Naturalist items and another with Anne Frazer’s climate change information and activities. On the Master Naturalist table we’ll have t-shirts, coloring pages, and some new items like the “bingo” wildlife sightings game.

Oct. 29, 9-3 – Aquatic Life certification workshop, led by Dr. Anna Hill, at Black Bayou Lake NWR. This is a date change. It was previously scheduled Oct. 9, but I must be away that weekend at the annual conference of the national organization Louisiana Master Naturalist Association is a member of.

Dec. 11 – Our 4th Quarter meeting and Christmas Party will be at Heartwood, the home of Amy and Kelby Ouchley in Rocky Branch. A weiner roast, s’mores and other goodies planned, but I must admit I’m most looking forward to the opportunity to walk around Heartwood again. It is a wonderful natural area.

More information about each of these events will be forthcoming. For now, make sure they’re on your calendar!

2Q Meeting + Herps

Calling all members! This coming Sunday, June 12, at 2 p.m. at BBLNWR is our Second Quarter Members’ Meeting and educational event, and we need your participation.

Micha Petty

Micha Petty is our guest speaker. His talk will focus on snake identification, especially distinguishing between venomous and non-venomous snakes. But I know Micha well enough to know he’ll go wherever our questions and interests take him. Micha is knowledgeable and loves to talk about herps.

He also has a wonderful herps primer that has received high praise from scientists and ordinary citizen users alike. I told him to bring a few copies to sell. All naturalists should have one! The proceeds from the sale of these books benefit Micha’s herp rescue and rehab operation.

We’ll also have a short business meeting. The most important thing we have to talk about is that the Northeast Chapter will host the 2024 statewide gathering called Rendezvous. It’s never too early to start thinking about an event like that.

This Nerodia fasciata confluens (Broad-banded Water Snake) was well camouflaged in the leaf litter along the boardwalk.

Finally, we’ll cap off the afternoon with a herp walk. Micha will be along to help spot herps and answer questions. Here’s hoping the snake population at BBL shows up!

We’ll gather in the Environmental Education Center at BBL. Although I heard a reporter on air refer to our current situation as “post-pandemic,” in fact, it is not. I really, really would like to see participation in our meetings get back to pre-pandemic levels and I know some folks are still reluctant. Since we will all be together indoors for about an hour and a half, I urge that we all (except Micha, our speaker) wear masks while we are indoors.

See you Sunday!