1st Q Mtg: The Ivory-Bill!

Is the ivory-billed woodpecker gone forever? Matt Courtman says, “No!”

The Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast first quarter 2020 meeting is scheduled Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. in the Black Bayou Lake NWR Education Center. As always we begin with a speaker on a natural history subject. This time it will be Matt, and, yes, he will make a case that the ivory-bill can and will be found alive and well in Louisiana.

Sonny Boy and JJ Kuhn
Sonny Boy and J.J. Kuhn

Matt has been fascinated with the ivory-bill since he was 8 years old. He will inform us about the ivory-bill’s unique place in Louisiana’s natural history and will lay out varies theories about its disappearance.

But the driving force behind all of that will be his hope and determination to find that the ivory-bill has persisted and still lives in Louisiana. So come, join the discussion and find out about Matt’s statewide collaborative effort to find, document and protect the ivory-bill.

McIlhenny specimens
McIlhenny Specimens

Certified LMN-NE members, you can count this as continuing ed. I will have our tracking app up and running by then. At about 3 p.m., we will engage in a brief business meeting, and after that…. the Refuge awaits! Yay!

This program is brought to you by the LMN-NE Quarterly Meeting Planning Committee, Stuart Hodnett, Suzanne Laird-Dartez and Charles Paxton. Please direct your feedback and suggestions for future meetings to them.


Dec. 15: Business + Fun!

The fun will begin at 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, at Black Bayou Lake NWR Visitor Center with a Christmas Party. The business is a Board of Directors meeting that will precede the party at 3 p.m.

So let’s talk about FUN first! All LMN-NE members and their families are invited. Please bring holiday finger-foods to share. Suzanne Laird–Dartez will bring a beverage. I might, too, like a couple of bottles of sparkling wine!

If you wish to participate in a gift exchange game, modeled on the “white elephant” or “dirty Santa” games (but featuring nothing dirtier than, perhaps, actual dirt), bring a nature-themed gift in the $15 price range. Nature books, field guides and/or outdoor gear are all viable options. (Participation not required.)

Thanks, Suzanne, for organizing this!

Business: The Board of Directors meeting will begin at 3 p.m. I’ll distribute a tentative agenda to those folks at a later date. For the moment, as I indicated at the last members meeting, we need to be cognizant that our By-Laws require officers to be certified Master Naturalists. That was not possible in the beginning. Now as we move into our third year as an organization and have certified Master Naturalists plus several more soon to be certified, we need to come into compliance with our By-Laws.

Here’s a list of current Board members and officers: Bette Kauffman (Pres & State Board Rep), Stuart Hodnett (VP), Nova Clarke (Secy), Charles Paxton (Treas & State Board Rep), Kimberly Paxton (State Board Rep & State Board Secy), Roselie Overby (Membership Secy), Suzanne Laid-Dartez, Jeff Barnhill, Stephanie Herrmann.

Two serious invitations: First, if you are on the Board and feel you cannot serve in that capacity as the organization grows and requires more of you, please let me know. Second, if you are not on the Board but are interested in becoming more active in the leadership of this developing organization, please let me know.

See you the 15th, at 3 for business and/or at 4 for fun!


Woohoo! The big day is next Sunday. We will graduate six Master Naturalists: Kalem Dartez, Susan Hoover, Bette Kauffman, Suzanne Laird-Dartez, Charles Paxton, Kim Paxton.

Betsy and Sonny Trammell are coming up from the CENLA Chapter to hand us our certificates. Sonny has been on the statewide board longer than I have. When I mentioned at our statewide face-to-face board meeting in September that we would love it if someone who is already a Master Naturalist would come and do this for us, they volunteered immediately and enthusiastically. Thank you, Sonny and Betsy!

We’ll begin in the Visitor Center at Black Bayou Lake NWR at 2:30 p.m. Our graduation ceremony will be short. Please bring finger foods to share. We will have a short business meeting, but will end in time to show off our beautiful Refuge to Betsy and Sonny.

This would be a great time to invite folks who might be interested in Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast.

Kim and Suzanne, please bring t-shirts. Christmas is coming and our t-shirts would make great gifts.



Trash hurts wildlife. Thanks to Charles Paxton for putting together this reminder image.

Our 1st Quarter meeting is this coming Sunday, 2 p.m., at Black Bayou Lake NWR. We’ll walk the trails spotting dragonflies and damselflies for awhile first, then hear Dr. Doug Clarke’s presentation on same in the Visitor Center, followed by our business meeting.

Our next workshop is Saturday the 13th. Working on details NOW! Will get registration up before the weekend.


1st Quarter: Dragonflies!

You all know I can’t resist dragonflies and damselflies, right? Imagine my dismay when Arthur Liles posted on our Facebook page about a dragonfly lecture he was going to in Mississippi–Vicksburg? I think so. In any case, I couldn’t go. Bummer.

Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus) (male)
Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus) (male) at Allen Acres in southwest Louisiana.        (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)

So what’s even better? Getting the speaker to come here!

Our 1st Quarter meeting is actually scheduled the first Sunday of the 2nd Quarter, specifically April 7. We will convene at the Visitor Center at Black Bayou Lake NWR at 2 p.m. to walk the trails and boardwalk looking for Odonates. Of course, we will be distracted by all the other wonderful biota of BBLNWR!

Dr. Doug Clarke will join us there. After about an hour of trail-walking, we will reconvene in the Visitor Center, say about 3:15 p.m., no later than 3:30, for Dr. Clarke’s presentation and Q&A.

At 4:30, we will have our usual 30- to 40-minute business meeting. Remember that all are welcome to our quarterly meetings, including kids and grandkids old enough to enjoy the experience. Non-members are free to leave when we convene for business, or stay and observe if they are curious about us.

Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita)
Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) at Black Bayou Lake NWR.        (photo by Bette J. Kauffman)