For Your Calendar

So, the weather got the better of us. (See the map I posted on Facebook.) I can be kind of hardcore about not letting the weather change plans, but… occasionally sense–and concern for safety–must prevail.

Our next workshop will be Basic Plant Identification with Dr. Charles Allen. It is scheduled May 4, 9 – 3.

Dr. Allen
Dr. Charles Allen at our 2018 workshop. (©Charles Paxton)

We still have not pinned down a location. However, I can tell you that the ULM Biological Station was again flooded just a couple of weeks ago. If it does not clear in time, we will do a repeat of last year or go to the nature trail near the Columbia Lock & Dam.

IMPORTANT: If you paid for Bugs, you have three options: 1) Leave the money as is to cover the Plant ID workshop, 2) leave the money as is to cover the Bugs workshop June 1, or 3) ask for a refund. Please just let me know via email which option you prefer.

The bugs workshop is hereby rescheduled June 1, 9-3 at La Tech, and I for one am hoping for good weather so we can go to the La Tech Arboretum for field work.

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Speaking of bugs, here’s an Orchard Orbweaver (Genus Leucauge) from the St. Mary’s Falls Trail at J. C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA. (©Bette J. Kauffman)

In the meantime, here are more events to keep you entertained and outdoors!

Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m.: Earth Day at Black Bayou Lake NWR, brought to you by Ouachita Green. We will have a table. Help wanted! Fun activities for the whole family!

Monday, April 22, 6:30: Grand opening of the alligator exhibit at Black Bayou Lake NWR, followed by a talk about alligators by Kelby Ouchley. Bring your copies of Kelby’s books to get them signed, and if you don’t have them, I’m sure the FOBB gift shop will be open.

Sunday, April 28, 1:30 – 3: LMN-NE will have a table at the celebration of Earth Day in Ruston on the grounds of the Civic Center. I will be there with all of our stuff. Again, help wanted! Fun activities for the whole family! Flyer below. Please note that Amy Ouchley will be sharing a letter from Swamper!

Earth Day Celebration 2019


Bugs Coming Up!

The registration link for the Bugs workshop this coming Saturday is now live on the Certification tab of this website. Yes, I’m kinda running late, so get registered now!

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Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) – I am thrilled to have gotten this good a photo in spite of the thick cover the pair were in.       (©Bette J. Kauffman)

As usual, if you want to pay on site, email me please. Here’s the Workshop 1 Flyer.

Dr. Natalie Clay is our workshop leader. We will convene on the Tech campus, very likely the same room we have used before, but she has been on the road and will reserve a space for us Monday. I will convey that via email by mid-week.

Our classroom time will include an intro to entomology, major orders of insects, identification, and methods of collecting and preserving.

We will go to the Louisiana Tech Arboretum for our field work. Wear footwear and pants you don’t mind getting wet and muddy! Bring the usual field gear and protection from the sun just in case.

Ahh, the weather! At this time, scattered thunderstorms are predicted for Saturday, with a high of 70 degrees. I plan to bring a rain jacket and will only stay indoors if it is pouring.

But Natalie says if we can’t go outdoors, we will sift through leaf litter indoors, look at Tech’s specimens, etc. Expect to see bugs!

Speaking of rain and bugs.. We had a great 1st Quarter Meeting today at Black Bayou Lake NWR. We saw dragonflies, heard Dr. Doug Clarke’s excellent presentation on Odonates, and got wet over a pair of prothonotary warblers! Then there was this little guy on the path as we hurried back to the Visitor Center in the rain. Perfect afternoon, if you ask me. More about it later.

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Broad-banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata confluens)     (©Bette J. Kauffman)

Geology This Saturday!

Folks, sorry to be so late with this! It is past time to register for this coming Saturday’s Geology workshop. It is the 9th and last in our first series of workshops for those seeking to become certified Master Naturalists.

The charge is $25 as usual and the registration link is live on the Certification tab above. You can also pay on site if you let me know in advance that you wish to do so.

I am still waiting for details from Gerry Click, so the flyer link on the Certification tab is not active. But here’s what you need to know now:

  1. We will convene in the Learning Center of the Franklin Parish Library at 9 a.m. for the classroom portion. The address is 705 Prairie St., Winnsboro.
  2. We will end the classroom portion in time for folks to pick up lunch in Winnsboro, or take their brown bag lunches to the park that is on the left side of the highway going south–the direction we will go, or head straight to the WMA and eat there.
  3. We will reconvene at the J.C. “Sonny” Gilbert Wildlife Management Area at about 12:30 p.m. It is a 40-minute drive straight south on Highway 425 to Sicily Island then a few miles west on Highway 8.

As soon as I hear from Gerry, I’ll finish the flyer and distribute it by email so you’ll have something to print if that is your desire. In the meantime, get registered! And enjoy this photo of a lovely geological display at a quarry north of Pollock, La.

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Home of the Wounded Healer     (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)


Upcoming Workshops

March 23, 9 – 3: Geology with Gerry Click

Folks, this one had to be moved. It was originally scheduled March 2, but that is the Saturday before Mardi Gras. Gerry Click is a really, really nice guy, but, hey! The committee did not notice or we would never have scheduled it that day.

Gerry Click

So it’s now rescheduled March 23. Sure hope y’all can accommodate the change. And… Gerry says we’ll do our field work at the J. C. “Sonny” Gilbert WMA near Sicily Island. Yay! Now I just have to find a place near there where we can do our classroom work. On it!

April 13, 9 – 3: Bugs with Dr. Natalie Clay

This is a new one, just added to our calendar a week or so ago.

Dr. Clay is a faculty member at LaTech. Last April she received the prestigious Elton Prize awarded annually by the British Ecological Society for the best paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology written by an early career author at the start of their research career.

Dr. Natalie Clay

No details on this one yet, but I’m sure we’ll convene in a LaTech classroom then go somewhere out that way for field work. Dr. Clay’s response to my suggested timing: “Yes, should be lots of bugs around then.”

BTW, this is the first of a new cycle of workshops. Of course, the way we have set up our certification process, it really doesn’t matter. All are welcome up to 20 people.

May 4, 9 – 3: Plants with Dr. Charles Allen

Again, Dr. Allen will meet us somewhere south of here. We are hoping the ULM Biological Station, Charles Allen Nature Preserve does NOT flood this year.

Y’all know a bit about Dr. Allen by now. He will introduce us to basic plant identification terminology using specimens he brings with him, then get us into the field identifying plants ASAP.

Wild Lettuce (Lactuca ludoviciana)
Dr. Charles Allen

Since parking at the Biological Station is pretty limited, I’ll be looking for a place in Columbia for us to convene, then car pool the few minutes it takes to get to the field. There are no permanent toilet facilities out there, so I just might rent a port-a-pottie for us so we don’t have to drive back to Columbia for lunch.

This is our first “repeat” workshop. As usual, all are welcome, but I will give registration priority to people who did not do the plants workshop last year and need it to complete their certification process.

It’s a busy, busy time of year. Look for another post soon about a photo contest opportunity and the LMNA silent auction fundraiser.

And just for good measure…. after everyone else had driven off Saturday, I was still poking around the edges of Russell Sage, and found the moss below. Yesterday, I posted this on iNaturalist, and within minutes had received an email inviting me to participate in a citizen science project around this moss. How cool is that?!

Common Bladder Moss (Physcomitrium pyriforme)
Common Bladder Moss (Physcomitrium pyriforme)     (photo by BJK)



Mammals of Louisiana

I almost titled this post “Mammals Wearing T-shirts,” but decided that was too clever by half. Nevertheless…..

sizanneTime to register for our 8th certification workshop, Mammals of Louisiana, scheduled Feb. 9, 9 am – 3 pm. The registration link is now ready on the Certification page of this website.

Reminder to Kalem Dartez, David Hoover, Susan Hoover & Frances Rogers: This is your 7th workshop. You do not need to pay, but you do need to let me know if you will attend.

The Workshop 8 Flyer link is also ready for you to click and download/print. We will meet on the ULM campus; I’ll send out the room # and building via email as soon as I get that form Dr. Kim Tolson, our workshop leader.

We will go to Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area for field work. That means everyone will need a Louisiana hunting or fishing license. It’s easy and cheap. I just renewed mine in about 5 minutes. If you’ve never had one, it’ll take you a bit longer but…. no biggie.

Go here: Buy A License I recommend the basic “hook and line” license, commonly called the cane pole license. It’s $2.50 with a $2 convenience fee, and and I donated an extra $2 to “Hunters for the Hungry.” For $6.50, I’m set and the license is now waiting on my desktop to be printed.


What else? Dr. Tolson says she doesn’t mind us “getting distracted by other taxa” while we are out looking for mammal sign. He he! That would be us. And she’s game for helping us make connections between other taxa and mammals. We should have a rich species list at the end of this workshop!!


BTW, I have an extra pair of boots that I’ll have in my car in case someone needs them.

And the t-shirts, in case you’re wondering, are $20@. You can pay for one on the “Gift Shop” tab above and get it at the workshop or pay for shipping and Kim Paxton will mail it to you.

I’m sure Kim and Charles will also bring t-shirts to the workshop to sell, but let us please remember, they are also Master Naturalists in training. Let us not turn our workshops into “shameless commerce,” as Click and Clack like to say, and distract our fellow Master Naturalists from their own enjoyment of the experience. Please come early or stay a few minutes late to do business at a workshop.

And away we go… on another workshop adventure.