A few items to follow up on yesterday’s Workshop Update post:

1. Don’t forget that you also must submit an interpretive project for your certification. It is my recollection a couple people might be working on fungi. Here’s a link to the Mycological Society’s Winter Foray blog post. I’m bummed that I cannot go.

2. We have three people who have done 6 workshops. If they can make one of the three in early 2019, they will be ready to present interpretive projects and graduate. They are: Bette Kauffman, Kimberly Paxton, and Charles Paxton.

3. Five people have done five workshops and need two of the next three to present and graduate. They are: Kalem Dartez, David Hoover, Susan Hoover, Suzanne Laird, Frances Rogers.

4. Two people have done four workshops and need all three of the next three to present and graduate in the first round. They are: Jeff Barnhill, Arthur Liles.

So… we could have a first graduating class of 10! Get those dates on your calendars!

And just for the fun of it, here’s Kim Paxton focused on the mission. (Sorry the photo is a little blurry, Kim. I still thought it too good to pass up!)

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Master Naturalist at Work     (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

Finally, I have updated the “Certification Progress” and “1st Cycle” Curriculum documents on the Certification tab of this website.

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:

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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.


Watershed Dynamics

Our next certification workshop is scheduled September 15. Dr. Bill Patterson, Associate Professor of Forest Soils and Watershed Management at Louisiana Tech University, is our workshop leader.

I have sent Dr. Patterson a draft of an agenda for the day and will distribute it via email as soon as I hear back from him. In the meantime, here’s the outline of the day:

> 9 a.m. Convene in Reese Hall 219 on the Tech campus for classroom instruction. Topics include the hydrologic cycle, stormflow, land use factors, methods to measure water quality, and more.

> 11:30 a.m. Travel to Redwine Creek in Grambling for field work, which will include measuring streamflow, temperature, turbidity, etc., collecting and identifying fish, assessing water quality, and more.

Those who have chest waders or rubber boots should bring them. However, getting into the stream is optional. Those who wish to work from the bank with dip nets and collection buckets, or to observe plant and animal life along the stream will have plenty to see.

Of course, given that the predicted high for the day is 89 degrees, some of us might opt to just get wet! If you do, please make sure you have some kind of footwear safe for stream wading.

This sounds like another fabulous experience! Registration is open on the Certification tab above.

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This is Chemin-A-Haute Creek, NOT where we’re going for this workshop, but a lovely photo by Jeff Barnhill that I’ve been looking for an opportunity to share.

Ecosystems & Restoration Ecology

Coming up! Our next certification workshop is scheduled August 4. Dr. Joydeep Bhattacharjee of the ULM Biology program is our workshop leader.

Perhaps you recall from earlier communiques that Dr. Joydeep is on a research trip in the Himalayas this summer. He will return the middle of next week, just a few days before our workshop.

The consequence of this timing is that I have not been able to speak with him to resolve the details of our workshop. Nevertheless, I have emailed him a proposed agenda, in the hope that he has access to email and will take a minute to respond.

In the meantime, here is what I have PROPOSED:

  • Meet at Kiroli Park in West Monroe at 8 a.m. for intro and walking a couple Park trails.
  • Reconvene mid-morning at Ouachita Valley Library on McMillan Rd., WM, for classroom work.
  • Reconvene at 12 noon at Restoration Park, 700 Downing Pines Rd, WM, for lunch in pavilion at entrance and additional field work.

Please bear in mind that this is a DRAFT awaiting Dr. Joydeep’s approval. I have not finalized an agenda for the day for that reason. As soon as I am able to do that, I will distribute it to workshop enrollees via email.

And, of course, if you haven’t enrolled and plan to do so, now is the time. Go to the Certification tab at the top of this website and you will find instructions and links.

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A white-tailed deer crosses the wetland of Restoration Park.      (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

Look carefully at the photo above and you will see that the deer is not quite in sharp focus. Nevertheless, it is my favorite of all the photos I have taken at Restoration Park. Remind me to tell you the story sometime!

Aquatic Life – It’s the Little Things

Have you ever looked at a swamp or lake and wondered about the life contained in a drop of that water? I do it all the time! Here’s our opportunity to find out.

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Registration is now open for the June 23 Aquatic Life workshop. Go to the Certification tab on this website to pay via PayPal and secure your seat. The workshop 4 flyer is also there to download. It tells you all you need to know to be prepared for a successful day, so read carefully.

Here are some highlights:

1. We convene early – 8 a.m. – at the boat ramp at Black Bayou Lake. Aquatic life is more active earlier in the day and it will be cooler.

2. We will go out onto the water in canoes and kayaks. We have reserved FOBB’s, but feel free to bring your own. If you bring your own, be there early enough to have it IN THE WATER by 8 a.m. sharp. Even if you are not bringing you own, if you can arrive by 7:30 to help launch canoes, please do.

3. After a couple of hours on the lake, we will be in the education center. Our workshop leader, Dr. Anna Hill, has borrowed expensive scopes from ULM for us to use. Due to the need for technology and individual attention from workshop leaders to understand what we are looking at, this workshop is limited to 16 participants. Register now to secure your seat.

Again, please read the flyer. It contains valuable information. As always, if you do not wish to pay via PayPal, shoot me an email. I will reserve you a seat and collect from you that day.