Workshops Update

I considered titling this post “the end is near!” but ultimately decided that was too much drama. Nevertheless…. Yay! The remaining three workshops in our first cycle of certification workshops are now scheduled! Here they are:

maness photo
Terri Maness

January 12, 2019 – Birds

Our own Dr. Terri Maness will lead this workshop. Yes, she gets credit in her own trek towards certification for “taking” her own workshop!

Terri hopes we will be able to do our field work in the Ouachita Wildlife Management Area, which draws large numbers of water and shore birds especially in the winter. That area is also prone to flooding, so we will have to have Plan B.

Terri is an assistant professor of biological science at La Tech University.

February 9, 2019 – Mammals

Kim Tolson

Dr. Kim Tolson, ULM associate professor of biology, will lead this workshop. A few of you met Kim when she went night-time herp hunting with us back in June of this year.

Our field work for this one will be looking for animal sign–tracks, scat (ok, “poop”), antler rubs, etc.–since mammals are notoriously shy of clusters of humans roaming their habitat. I’m hoping for Tensas NWR but that will be up to Kim.

Gerry Click

March 2, 2019 – Geology

Gerry Click is a ULM graduate and a retired petroleum geologist. He will lead this workshop on environmental geology and teach us how to identify basic rocks in Louisiana, among other things.

Since rock outcroppings are about as hard to site in northeast Louisiana as wild mammals, it’s not yet clear where we will do our field work. Do not fear. That will be figured out.

In the meantime, Gerry sent this picture of a toad sighted in Cameron Parish and challenged us to name it, demonstrating clearly that he knows how to engage wanabee master naturalists!

Name this toad! Hint: Found in Cameron, Cameron Parish.

Final words: These three will conclude our first series of nine workshops. All are scheduled 9 am – 3 pm on a Saturday. We will then conduct a certification ceremony for all who have completed at least seven of the nine.

We will begin a new cycle of workshops ASAP so that those who missed more than two can fill in the gaps. I hope we will have two certification ceremonies next year, the first in March or early April and the second in the fall.


Plan for Poverty Point!

I finalized our 4th Quarter Meeting plans with Poverty Point just a couple of hours ago. It’s going to be a great day. Here’s the skinny:MeetingWe will be met by a Park Ranger who will give us some background on the site, answer our questions and lead us on a hike. Our own Roselie Overby will teach us a thing or two about birds and edible plants. She has helped Poverty Point in this role many times.

Poverty Point World Heritage Site

We will begin our 4th Quarter Meeting no later than 4 p.m., and, although I try to keep meetings to a half hour, we do tend to run over a few minutes. We will end no later than 4:45 because the Park closes at 5 p.m. I want us to be well out of the way so staff can do what they need to do and get out on time.

I do realize that 1:30 p.m. is a bit early for those of us who have a ways to drive. I myself will have to hit the road immediately at the end of my Sunday morning obligations. If you absolutely cannot make it by 1:30, come as soon as you can. We’ll be there and most likely won’t begin our hike until 2 or 2:15 p.m.

We will meet outdoors under a pavilion if weather permits; if not, there’s an indoor space we can use. Please bring your own water, snacks and whatever else you need to spend a few hours outdoors, as you are accustomed to doing. Here’s hoping for glorious weather to explore this amazing site.

Closer to the time, I’ll post Kim Paxton’s t-shirt designs, and I just realized I have another idea I really want her to work on. For the moment, enjoy another shot from our fun ULM Biological Station BioBlitz a couple of Saturdays ago.

Orbweaver (Genus Verrucosa)
Orbweaver (Genus Verrucosa)     (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)


This Saturday….

Two events this Saturday you shouldn’t miss: The Friends of Black Bayou Fall Celebration and the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council Brew on the Bridge.

Fall Celebration happens at Black Bayou Lake NWR. There’s a 5K trail run at 9 a.m., but everything else begins at 10 a.m. And “everything else” includes a long list of fun stuff for the whole family.

Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast will have a table in the Visitor Center alongside Ouachita Green, so stop by and say “Hi!” And if you see Charles and Kim Paxton–as you most likely will–be sure to thank them for this beautiful new brochure we have to hand out!

In addition to the Paxtons, Roselie Overby, Suzanne Laird and David Hoover will help staff our table, and Stuart Hodnett will be nearby at the Ouachita Green table.

Our new brochure featuring a terrific photograph from our herps workshop.

Fall Festival happens every year the Saturday of National Wildlife Refuge Week.

Brew on the Bridge runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It’s an event of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Councils North Delta Food & Wine Festival and features dozens of craft beers to taste for just $10.

The Endom Bridge across the Ouachita River, from Cotton on the Monroe side to Trapp’s on the West Monroe side, will close early in the morning so that artist, artisan, food and beer vendors can set up booths, tables and the like all along the bridge.

Four Puzzles
Limited Edition puzzles made from Bette J. Kauffman photographs.

I will be there this year as a vendor with framed and unframed prints (some Limited Edition, some not), artist note cards and something new: Limited Edition puzzles! If you don’t spend your entire day at Fall Celebration, I hope you’ll stop by Brew on the Bridge.

BTW, I will also be handing out our new LMN-NE flyers at Brew on the Bridge! Sure do hate to miss Fall Celebration, and please know I have wailed long enough and loud enough that an Arts Council Board member has promised me that these two events will NOT conflict next year.

And just for the fun of it, because I need a good header photo, here’s one from last Saturday’s BioBlitz, which was a blast.

Spinybacked Orbweaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis)
Spinybacked Orbweaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis)     (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

BioBlitz Set!

I just received word from Dr. Joydeep Bhattacharjee that the BioBlitz flooded out last spring has been rescheduled Saturday, Oct. 6! Here’s hoping some Master Naturalists will be able to participate.

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An awesome colony of fungi from the 2016 BioBlitz, but I still haven’t identified them!     (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

The ULM Biological Station, Charles Allen Nature Trail is near Columbia, La. It is a wonderfully diverse habitat ranging from a low-lying cattail pond along the east side bordered by Fischer Road, to high bluffs overlooking the Ouachita River, and down again to very low ground next to the river.

Google Map
The green twig on this map marks the entrance to the ULM Biological Station, which is the area between Fischer Rd on the west, the river on the east, and bayous to the north and to the south. Fischer Road can be accessed from the southeast corner of Columbia or from Hwy 849 and Huff’s Bend Road.

Several ULM faculty members will participate in the BioBlitz. Details are not yet set, but typically hikes begin about 7 a.m. Graduate students will go down the night before to set live traps in the pond.

Birds, trees, herbeceous plants, reptiles, aquatic life and more will be on the agenda. I will be looking for the crane fly orchid locations I marked a couple of years ago! Of course, the orchids are past blooming, but I might be able to locate the sites that still have spent flower stalks.

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Getting to the top of the bluff is well worth the effort!     (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

This will be a great opportunity for a family-fun outing, so bring kids and grandkids who are old enough to do a little hiking. This 100-acre site is a great place to introduce them to the great outdoors, as the trails are wide and relatively easy to walk. Some are a bit steep but not rocky, and you can stay on gentle grades all day if you prefer.

This will be a great opportunity to practice what we’ve been learning in our certification workshops. Not only will we contribute our observations to a BioBlitz Species list, but we can generate one for our group’s observations, and we can add them to the iNaturalist project I started for this location some time ago.