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!

Earth Day Hikes!

It’s Earth Day and Herp Day at Black Bayou Lake NWR. Friends of Black Bayou (FoBB) and Louisiana Master Naturalists–Northeast (LMNNE) are pleased to offer a pair of hikes that will get you moving and learning.

A green frog (Lithobates clamitans), wonderfully camouflaged against the muddy bottom of Black Bayou Lake near the boardwalk on a recent LMNNE outing.

The first hike will kick off from the Visitor Center at 10 a.m. This hike was initiated by Girl Scouts but is open to families who want to join in. Several Master Naturalists and Friends of Black Bayou will accompany the hikers to point out interesting flora and fauna along the boardwalk and answer questions.

The second hike will begin at 6:45 p.m. in the Environmental Education Center with a short talk about frogs and frog sounds–with examples to tune our ears. The hikers will then circumnavigate the pond in front of the Visitor Center, then, as dark is falling, head down the boardwalk.

Daytime hikers are more likely to catch a glimpse of this western ribbon snake (Thamnophis proximus).

The frog chorus at night is a thing to behold. This hike is open to all who are curious about night in the swamp and interested in learning to identify frog sounds and other night critters. Herpetologist John Carr will be with us, as well as a number of Master Naturalists and Friends of BBL.

So come on out, day or night or both! Right now, the forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy, but protection from the sun is recommended for the day walk. For both walks: bring plenty of water, bug screen, and snacks if you need them, plus wear walking shoes.

See you Saturday to celebrate our Mother Earth!

1st Quarter: Quail

This coming Sunday we will gather on zoom at 2:30 p.m. for our 2022 1st Quarter program and meeting. And just maybe this will be our last members’ meeting on zoom? We can hope!

No later than 2:35 p.m., I will ask a member of the Events Committee to introduce our guest speaker. Austin Klais is a wildlife biologist associated with Quails Forever.

From the Quails Forever website.

Quails Forever is sometimes knows as “the habitat organization.” Its mission is to conserve quail, pheasants and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public access, education, and conservation advocacy.

We will have opportunity for questions and discussion. This should be a highly interesting and informative hour.

At 3:30 we will conduct a short business meeting. Items on our agenda include upcoming events, especially Rendezvous 2022.

Please be reminded that our meetings are open to any person interested in learning more about us. Members should have received the zoom invite via email earlier today. Please do not share it on social media but feel free to send it to people you know who might want to attend.

If you did not receive the zoom link via email and want to attend, please contact me via <lmnneofficers2017@gmail.com>.

I’m looking forward to seeing you Sunday on zoom!