Congrats and News

Congratulations to our three newest certified Master Naturalists, David Hoover, Amy Ouchley and Roselie Overby!

From left: David Hoover, Roselie Overby, Amy Ouchley

David’s project was called “Snakes Alive!” and it is a great antidote to people’s fear of snakes. Roselie’s project was an educational hike down the Africa Lake trail in the Tensas River NWR. Amy’s project, “The Joys of Nature Journaling,” was an exhaustive review of the why, how, aesthetics and value added of same for nature lovers at all levels.

Each of these projects has a future as a resource for LMN-NE as we seek to build our chapter and pursue our missions of conservation and education.

Graduation was followed by a short business meeting. Our most important outcome is a new Board of Directors chart, as follows:

David Hoover was elected Vice President with the understanding that he will move up to president in a year. Susan Hoover agreed to chair a committee to look at ways to make our chapter more diverse and inclusive. Jessica Wright will become our volunteer and continuing ed hours coordinator. Bette Kauffman continues as president, Kim Paxton as secretary, Charles Paxton as treasurer, and Roselie Overby as membership chair.

Kelby Ouchley took advantage of the setting to teach us how to identify an Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) by its leaf petiole.

Many thanks to Stephanie Herrmann for her term on the Board! And many thanks to the Events Committee, chaired by Charles Paxton, for the work they have done this year.

This graduation, meeting and holiday party were conducted in the pavilion at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, a beautiful, 2-lot space on Bayou Desiard. Karen Hayward, a member of the church’s Care of Creation Committee, came out to speak with the group. The church already has provided the pavilion, a pier and a paved walking path to the neighborhood, and is interested in involving us in the development of the space as a healthy, natural, educational oasis in the city. You’ll hear more about this!

Chillin’ around the fire with Bayou Desiard in the background.

It was a wonderful occasion. Thanks to all who brought gifts to exchange, food to share and thoughtful participation in planning our future.

Photos in this post by Kim & Charles Paxton.

LMNA Board Meeting

The Louisiana Master Naturalist Association Board of Directors met last Friday, Sept. 6, at the Louisiana Arboretum at Chicot State Park for one of our two face-to-face meetings per year. Fourteen of 21 Board members were present.

Fall LMNA Mtg 2019
Attendees at the LMNA Board Meeting, left to right: Marty Floyd–VP, Acadiana; Bob Thomas–Pres., Greater NOLA; back row: Bette Kauffman, Northeast; Tracey Allen, Greater BR; Janie Braud–Treas., Greater BR; Liz Manhart, Greater NOLA; Angie Normand, CenLa; Betsy Trammell, CenLa; front row: Debbie Frank, Southwest; Amber King, Greater BR; Clay Ardoin, Southwest; Larry Raymond, Northwest; Sonny Trammell, CenLa; Tom Goleman, Northwest.

Much of our work was rather tedious but important stuff Boards are elected to do! We did a line-by-line review of our organizational by-laws and came up with a list of changes–mostly things made possible or necessary by our greater maturity as an organization. These changes will be voted on at our next conference call meeting.

We also discussed the upcoming Rendezvous 2020, scheduled April 17-19, 2020, at Camp Hardtner. Much work is yet to be done to prepare, but we’re already excited. I am particularly pleased to report that I will present my certification project, “Camp Hardtner: 100+ Years of Restoration,” Friday evening, as it will help people plan where they want to hike while we are there. It will need some updating!

We began a process of creating a Policy & Procedures Manuel, something our Northeast Chapter also needs to do. And, last but not least, we decided to create a binder of information about the certification curriculum of each chapter to serve as a resource for people responsible for organizing workshops. I’m looking forward to having that to help us enrich our own educational experiences.

CH PP title

It was a productive and fun day. Serving on this Board is a great privilege.

Time to renew!

LMN–NE has been one of the best things about 2018 for me. I have learned a lot and had great fun at every meeting and workshop. Several of our workshop leaders have commented to me how much they appreciated our intense interest and thoughtful questions. Folks, we are a pleasure to teach!

Just as important, we all share freely whatever knowledge and skill each of us has. As a teacher myself, I truly appreciate the value of groups who enter fully into teaching and learning from each other.

Of course, I wish we had done more: More workshops, more fun hikes, more service projects. I hope you will come to our December meeting with ideas for next year and a willingness to jump in and help make it happen!

And now it is time to renew our memberships for another year. Dues have not changed. Everything on the Membership tab of this website has been updated. Like last year, you have two main options: Paying via PayPal online, or submitting cash, check or money order.

To renew your membership online via PayPal, just click the “Buy Now” button associated with the appropriate membership category. You will see that the buttons now specify “2019,” and the receipt PayPal generates for you will indicate 2019 membership dues.

Please note also that you can use any credit card to pay via PayPal. You do not need a PayPal account. And if you pay via PayPal, I will email you a brief form to complete and send back, as PayPal does not give us quite all the info we need for our member records (e.g., your phone & and mailing address).

If you don’t like paying online, no problem. Click on the Membership Form, print and complete it, and mail it to me along with your personal check or money order made payable to LMN–NE. My address is on the bottom of the form. Alternatively, you can hand it to me at our December meeting, along with a check, M.O. or cash.

Searching for Life 15"
Watershed Dynamics: The white blur in front of our instructor, Bill Patterson, is the casting net he has just flung. Kalem Dartez stands to his right, ready to collect what comes up in the net. Bette Kauffman is behind Patterson, pulling dragonfly and damselfly naiads out from under the vegetation with a long-handled dip net. Terri Maness is poking around for critters in the rocks on the opposite bank.     (photo by Charles Paxton)


3rd Quarter Meeting

Coming right up! Tuesday, August 28, 6 p.m., at the Union Parish Library, 202 West Jackson St., Farmerville.

Our focus will be wildlife rehabilitation. Leslie Albritton of Downsville and Micha Petty of Shreveport will be our guest speakers. Both are Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries trained wildlife rehabbers.

Leslie Albritton

Leslie rehabilitates furry critters. Check her out on Facebook and you will find photos of baby possums, skunks, raccoons and more.

Micha Petty

Micha rehabilitates herps. You can find him on Facebook as well. I hope Micha will show you a short video of his recent release of a big alligator snapper back into the wild.

Here’s the plan for the evening: At 6 p.m. Stephanie Herrmann and the Union Parish Library will kick off their anti-littering campaign. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Leslie and Micha will each have about 20 minutes to talk about what drew them to wildlife rehab, their view of the LDWF program and their favorite critter rehab stories. That will leave up to 20 minutes for our questions.

I will provide a handout about the next wildlife rehab training scheduled by LDWF this fall.

At 7:30 p.m. we will have a business meeting. Among the items on our agenda: a treasurer’s report, membership renewal, need for one more board member, some terrific t-shirt design ideas from Kim Paxton, additional certification workshop plans, etc.

And to you patient folks from the east side of our service area: I promise we will come your way for the 4th Quarter Meeting. I’m thinking a Sunday afternoon at Poverty Point.

Water Lilies
Restoration Park, West Monroe, La.

Photo of the Week

I love red buckeye early in the year, even before it sends up stalks of firecracker blooms. This is the new photo of the week, made at the ULM Biological Station, Charles Allen Nature Preserve in February, 2017.

Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)                                           Photo by Bette Kauffman


Please note that I have changed the “Photo of the Week” widget to a slideshow. And, because the caption will not accommodate enough text to give both common names and Latin names, I have settled on Latin names. Seems appropriate to me for budding Master Naturalists!