Here’s a fascinating talk for Naturalists in northeastern Louisiana! There was always something very special about Ivory-billed woodpeckers, just look at that face! That wild eye! They are the holy grail of bird watching, could they still be living in parts of Louisiana? I can’t wait to find out more!
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 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…
Thank God for the U.S. National Wildlife Refuges, say I! They are as much a refuge to me as they are to the wildlife, I think. My life is so much richer for them. Hats off to the founders, the designers, the rangers and managers. God bless them and the wildlife and habitat that they protect.
Last Saturday I went along to The Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe Louisiana for their 2019 Fall Festival. It was a great family fun day and I was there with my colleagues from the Louisiana Master Naturalists Northeast manning a stall, selling fund-raising T-shirts and spreading awareness of our educational workshops and field trips that we are doing on a regular basis. Please see our LMNNE website for more information about our group: https://louisianamasternaturalistsnortheast.com/
Our orientation film played on the big screen and our stall had much more to offer this year than we had last year. Long and short sleeved T-shirts, an explanatory brochure and a brochure about the health benefits of woodland walking that also lists some of the great wild places in northeastern Louisiana where we can walk. To download the 2.6 MB version of the Healing Nature brochure as a PDF, please click below.
Also I couldn’t resist exploring some of the other stalls at the open day.
I had a brief walk-about and bought some great second-hand books, saw the wonderful wildlife photo contest entries for 2019 and some other fun stuff going on.
This time I spent a bit of time chatting with some folks on other tables. I was impressed to learn that Louisiana’s largest Solar energy farm is in West Monroe. It was established to supply energy to a water purification plant for the paper mill.
Stuart Hodnett, director of Ouachita Green told me some very encouraging news about their recent achievements. Amongst other things, such as a major clean-up sweep of the local rivers and bayous they collected over 102,000 lbs of hazardous household waste this year. On Nov. 15th they’ll be holding a household furniture collection at Monroe’s Civic Center from 9 am to 1 pm.
This refuge is great for a number of reasons, it has a fantastic visitors’ center with displays and gift shop to fund conservation activities, a very nice boardwalk that allows dry and comfortable access to Bottomland hardwood forest and swamp and a good many other well-maintained trails, hides and an observation platform.
Here you can see forest wildlife, plants and fungi and also the swamp things! It’s great for Bald Eagles, American alligators, turtles, water fowl, woodland birds, a variety of snakes and lizards. frogs, butterflies, swamp rabbits and deer.
Some lucky souls have even encountered Alligator Snapping Turtles!
We welcome anybody in the area who is interested in a fun and educational day! The 22nd Annual Fall Celebration: Saturday, October 12, 9 am-2 pm at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The day kicks-off at 8:30 am with a Nature Walk led by Amy Ouchley, celebrated wildlife author, wildlife biologist and Louisiana Master Naturalist. Come along and find out how a walk in the woods can help your mind body and spirit. To learn more about our Louisiana Master Naturalist Northeast Group please click here to watch our Youtube video.
Now that it is getting a bit cooler you may be ready to get out into some natural areas for some healthy walking. The benefits of woodland walking are extolled in Kimmie Paxton’s Louisiana Master Naturalists Northeast Certification Project. Click on the image below to view the brochure as a PDF. Right click and select the ‘save as’ option to download the brochure to a folder of your choice.
Activities for all ages (9 am-2 pm) include: the 11 am turning of the Blue Goose Migration Marker, free canoeing and kayaking, a refuge photo exhibit, native animal displays, nature book sale, newly designed T-shirts, face painting, human-sized animal puppets, temporary tattoos, button making, “backyard bass” game, bird ID game, zoo animals, BB-gun target practice, giant mural painting, Shirley the Elephant activities and books, science fun, recycling and anti-littering information, nature-related arts and crafts, creative photo ops, a blood drive and more.</p>
Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast will have its biggest presence ever at Fall Celebration this coming Saturday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
This is our third year to be at Friends of Black Bayou’s annual event. But this year, instead of one table, we will have two, plus not only displays and information, but t-shirts to sell and coloring pages for the kids.
Kim Paxton’s tri-fold of her certification project, Healing Nature, along with a tri-fold brochure we had made of the key content, will share a table with our long-sleeved blue Louisiana water thrush t-shirts. I can’t wait for weather cool enough to wear mine again!
The other table will feature our organizational tri-fold and our organizational brochure, plus the yellow black bear t-shirts. This is the t-shirt I’ll be wearing Saturday, and I love it, too.
Along the front of both tables, we’ll have assorted crayons…
The 22nd Annual Friends of Black Bayou welcome you all to Fall Celebration: Saturday, October 12, 9 am-2 pm at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The day kicks-off at 8:30 am with a Nature Walk led by Amy Ouchley, celebrated wildlife author, wildlife biologist and Louisiana Master Naturalist.
Friends of Black Bayou once again invite the public to enjoy a day of celebration at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, October 12, 9 am-2 pm, beginning with a guided nature walk at 8:30 am.
The award-winning volunteer group is happy to be celebrating over 22 years of the community’s faithful support for this beautiful natural jewel by presenting a day of free family fun!
The day is the beginning of National Wildlife Refuge Week. Activities for all ages (9 am-2 pm) include the 11 am turning of the Blue Goose Migration Marker, free canoeing and kayaking, a refuge photo exhibit, native animal displays, nature book sale, newly designed T-shirts, face painting, human-sized animal puppets, temporary tattoos, button making, “backyard bass” game, bird ID game, zoo animals, BB-gun target practice, giant mural painting, Shirley the Elephant activities and books, science fun, recycling and anti-littering information, nature-related arts and crafts, creative photo ops, a blood drive and more.
Several community organizations, The Louisiana Master Naturalists Norteast, scouts, high school clubs and local universities will assist with the activities, along with Fish and Wildlife Service staff and FoBB members.
Preceding the other activities will be an 8:30 am nature walk, led by biologist/writer Amy Ouchley. All walk participants should park at the boat launch parking lot by 8:25 am, wearing shoes appropriate for rough ground. Don’t forget your camera!
As always, the Fall Celebration day will include food, but this year there’ll be food trucks with a variety of snacks and lunches for sale. Also served will be Black Bayou Lake Mud Pie, originated at 1997’s first Fall Celebration by the late Nell Odom, along with other sweets and lemonade provided free by FoBB members.
Founded in the summer of 1997, Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is north of Monroe, just off Highway 165 on Richland Place. There is an identifying sign at Hwy. 165, about one mile north of CenturyLink.
The Refuge was established for wildlife conservation as well as environmental education and wildlife-dependent recreation. Fishing and hunting, as well as nature photography, hiking and wildlife observation are some of the activities enjoyed there.
The Friends of Black Bayou was involved in the Refuge’s development and its continuing successes, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. FoBB won the National Friends Group of the Year award in 2004.
If you or your kids like butterflies, moths and other native Louisiana wildlife, then you may want to attend the Allen Acres Butterfly Blast 2019!
The Butterfly Blast lasts for two days from Sept. 27th to 29th , 2019
Louisiana Master Naturalist, Botany Professor and entomologist Dr. Allen says “All are invited, especially the young folks, to Allen Acres to view the butterflies. You should see adults, caterpillars, chrysalis (cocoons), and eggs of several different kinds of butterflies from skippers to large swallowtails and there’ll be tagging of monarchs. Yes, we will capture, apply a tag, and then release some monarchs. Hopefully, some of the tagged ones will be recovered later and we can see where and how far they traveled from Allen Acres. (http://www.monarchwatch.org/tagmig/tag.htm) ”
There are many other wild creatures of interest on the property including hummingbirds, anole lizards, dragonflies, spiders, praying mantids etc.
Furthermore if you can wait or come back just before dark, you will likely be treated to view one or more of the awesome hummingbird moths, also moths at the mercury vapor lights, spider eyes, fireflies etc.
9 AM till dark: Butterfly/hummingbird viewing and monarch tagging. On demand: Power Point “Butterflies from Scratch” or “Allen Acres Moths” by Dr. Charles Allen
7 pm or so till: hummingbird moth viewing: checkout the night life of moths, other insects, spiders, firefly counting, etc. On demand: Power Point “Butterflies from Scratch” or “Allen Acres Moths” by Charles Allen
BUTTERFLY BLAST Sep 27-Sep 29, 2019 at Allen Acres; 5070 Hwy 399; Pitkin, LA 70656 for more info call 337-328-2252 or email email@example.com
C.Paxton received no remuneration for this article, it contains his true, unsolicited opinions.
NEW REPORT: Almost 600,000 metric tonnes of sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras (Class Chondrichthyes) are caught each year by world’s 20 heaviest catchers. New report reveals need to improve monitoring of rapidly changing trade patterns.
A TRAFFIC study released today has identified the world’s top 20 shark and ray catchers and traders, who collectively account for some 80% of global reported catch averaged by year between 2007–2017.
Commercial and artisanal
vessels from Indonesia, Spain, India, Mexico, and the United States topped the
list of catchers during the studied time period, with a combined total of
333,952 metric tonnes (mt) caught on average each year.
Shark fin consumption in East Asia, traditionally eaten as a soup during celebratory occasions, is a key driver of trade. An average of 16,177 mt per year of shark fin products (with an average value of USD294 million per year) were reported as imported worldwide during 2000–2016.
TRAFFIC Press Release Sept. 11th 2019
The world’s four largest
importers of shark fin accounted for 90% of average annual global imports of
fins during the same period. Hong Kong SAR was the largest, importing an
average of 9,069 mt of shark fin a year over this period, followed by Malaysia (average
2,556 mt/year), mainland China (1,868 mt/year), and Singapore (1,587 mt/year).
The main importers of shark
and ray meat were Brazil, Spain, Uruguay, and Italy, which accounted for 57% of
the average global imports of shark meat over the past decade.
Sharks are particularly vulnerable to over-fishing due to their slow growth, relatively late age of maturity, and low fecundity. Their broad distribution and migratory nature also pose increased difficulties when designing and implementing effective measures to prevent over-exploitation.
These challenges are evident
from alarming declines observed across a broad range of species. Approximately
17% of shark and rays remain listed in the Critically Endangered, Endangered,
and Vulnerable categories of the IUCN’s Red List, with a further 13% listed as
Near Threatened, and 47% as Data Deficient.
Only 23% of shark and ray
species are considered to be of Least Concern – the lowest proportion of all
“Urgent measures are required
to combat the over-exploitation and lack of accurate catch and trade
information of sharks and rays. As key high order predators, the continued
wellbeing of these populations is essential to the overall health of our
oceans. We need the main catchers to take responsibility and put in place
monitoring and management measures to stop further declines of sharks and
rays,” said Nicola Okes, co-author of the report.
The release of An overview of major shark traders catchers and species follows the successful listing of Longfin and Shortfin Mako Sharks in CITES1 Appendix II at the 18th Conference of the Parties held in Geneva last month. The Proposals were accepted in response to population declines contributed to by over-exploitation and unsustainable trade.
A number of species protected under CITES regulations are assessed in the report, including Silky Shark Carcharhinus falciformis, Mobulid rays Mobulidae, and Blue Shark Prionace glauca. In 2017 alone, over 103,528 mt of Blue Shark were reported as caught.
“We have seen a greater use
of trade controls through CITES over the last decade as a response to declines
in sharks and rays being overfished for trade. We would also like to see major
importers scrutinising the sustainability of the shark and ray products they
import using tools such as M-Risk, developed by TRAFFIC. Major importers need to take
responsibility for their sustainability footprint as a result of importing
products from species at high risk of overexploitation,” said Glenn Sant,
TRAFFIC’s Senior Advisor on Fisheries Trade and Traceability.
A total of 153 shark species
and a further 28 taxonomic groupings of shark, ray, and chimaera species were
recorded as caught by international fisheries worldwide.
The majority of catches of
sharks and rays are recorded in general shark groups and not to species level
when reported to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
This lack of species specificity in reporting is one of
the many problems facing the conservation of sharks and rays as, without
accurate information, it hampers identifying those species in decline and
whether management measures in place to restrict catches and trade are
being adhered to.
“A key obstacle to the implementation of sustainable trade is the current lack of a universal traceability mechanism so we know how many sharks are being caught and whether those in trade are from sustainable and legal sources,”
“Shark product traceability systems, such as the one being trialed by TRAFFIC through a project entitled SharkTrack, alongside the amendment of WCO trade codes to include species specificity, would make significant inroads into safeguarding sharks and rays from the current threats they face.”
Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC’s Senior Advisor on Fisheries Trade and Traceability.
Fungi workshop by Louisiana Master Naturalists Northeast Group ! Our workshop leader will be mycologist, Dr. Laura Sims. So glad that La Tech added a mycologist to its faculty! Northeast Louisiana has an amazing diversity of fungi.
7 LNPS Fall Symposium at ULL Cade Farm,
St. Martinville, Louisiana.
Tiger claws in a seizure in Malaysia -18 Sept. 2017
Whole tiger skin seized Malaysia July2018 -Elizabeth John-Traffic
Part tiger carcass seized in Thailand in 2012. Image by P.Tansom-Traffic
Tiger skull and bones seized Malaysia 2 Sept. 2016 – Elizabeth John-Traffic
With just 3,900 wild tigers (Panthera tigris) left, new analysis highlighting persistent tiger trafficking is especially serious, over two per week have been seized since the turn of the century.
Geneva, Switzerland, 21st August 2019— There has been no respite for the heavily hunted Tiger with an estimated average of over 120 individuals seized each year over the past 19 years, a new TRAFFIC analysis revealed today.
Overall, the analysis estimated that 2,359 Tigers were seized from 2000 to 2018 across 32 countries and territories globally, the haul is from 1,142 seizure incidents. The vast majority, around 95%, of these seizures were recorded in countries that are home to Tigers.
India, with the world’s largest wild Tiger population, remains the country with the highest overall number of seizures and the most Tigers seized, consistent with findings from previous years. It accounted for 40.5% of total incidents (463) and 26.5% of tigers seized (626).
Outside the Tiger’s range, a total of 56 seizures were recorded, of which Taiwan and Mexico reported the largest number of Tigers seized throughout the 19-year period: 39 and 13 Tigers from 7 and 13 seizure incidents respectively.
We have done these analyses four times now and year on year, its more bad news for tigers. The poaching and illegal trade in tigers has been a decades-long unresolved problem that has piled the pressure on wild Tiger strongholds,” said Kanitha Krishnasamy, TRAFFIC’s Director for Southeast Asia and an author of the report.
“This pernicious trafficking—evidenced by the continuously high number of whole skins, whole animals—both dead and alive—and bones is testament to the ongoing demand for tiger parts. The time for talking is over: words must be turned into action to prevent further tiger loss.”
Analysis of the more recent years of the data-set turned up a few surprising findings including a four-fold increase in the yearly average seizure incidents in Indonesia between 2015-2018 and an almost-doubling of the numbers of tigers involved as a result. Even now, Indonesia continues to see large tiger parts seizures including one earlier this month of at least a dozen tiger skins in an East Javan workshop that made traditional dance masks.
The authors said a significant number of tigers from captive sources were seized during this period and that it underpinned the recurrent threat regarding the leakage of captive tigers into the illegal market.
The study found over half (58%) of the tigers seized in Thailand and 30% in Viet Nam were identified as originating from captive breeding facilities, with the largest proportion coming from a single seizure of 187 tigers in Thailand in 2016. Overall, a minimum of at least 366 tigers from known or suspected captive sources were seized over the assessed period.
“Seizures of tigers from captive facilities continue and serve as a stark reminder that such facilities seriously undermine conservation efforts to safeguard this species and provide opportunities for laundering and other illegal activities,” said Ramacandra Wong, a Senior Crime Analyst with TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.
And when looking at available information on the reported trafficking routes, from just 231 incidents, almost 90% of Viet Nam’s reported tiger trafficking route implicated a supply of tigers from Lao PDR. Given that Lao PDR has no viable wild tiger population, the most plausible source of these tigers was from captive populations, the study reported.
Just days ahead of World Tiger Day on 29th July 2019, Vietnamese authorities seized seven frozen tiger carcasses from a vehicle in Ha Noi from a suspect believed to have smuggled tigers from Lao PDR for years.
The study was launched to coincide with discussions around the trade in tigers and other big cat species taking place between world governments meeting in Geneva for the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The authors call for the full and effective implementation of CITES Resolution Conf. 12.5 (Rev. CoP17) on Asian big cats (ABCs) and the associated CoP Decisions which recommend a slew of actions covering improved legislation, enforcement, record keeping and actions to prevent tiger parts and derivatives from captive breeding facilities from entering the illegal trade chain.
Would you like to learn about Ecosystems and Restoration ecology and fungi? Well, you can attend environmental education workshops this Fall on these subjects held by the Louisiana Master Naturalists Northeast Group.
I’m sorry we missed the second round of LMNNe certification presentations, as the subjects were all very interesting and pertinent, but I’m thrilled to share information about the forthcoming workshops on Restoration Ecology and Fungi! I love Dr. Bette Kauffman’s image of a White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) running through the water at West Monroe’s Restoration Park!
Dr. Joydeep introduces us to our field work in Kiroli Park at our August 2018 workshop.
Once again, Dr. Joydeep Battacharjee of ULM will lead this workshop. We will begin in Kiroli Park, as we did last year, but he is going to look at trail options. Kiroli has several, so we might walk a different trail than we did last year.
The classroom portion of the workshop will again be in West Monroe. I don’t have a space reserved for that yet, but I’m looking.
Over our lunch break, we’ll move to Restoration Park and reconvene in the pavilion at the main entrance, 700 Downing Pines Road, for our afternoon field work.
It can still be pretty hot in September, and that’s why the 8:30 a.m. start. My apologies to those who drive from greater distances.
I was so excited about attending the Louisiana Master Naturalists Northeast Plants Workshop 2019 that I woke up about three hours before dawn! No wonder, our expert botanist for the workshop, Dr. Charles Allen is the State’s leading botanist, and there’s simply no better guide to Louisiana’s wild plants. Last year the information hit me like a flood, I missed quite a lot by being at the back and/or taking pictures and being inattentive. This year my wife and I resolved to stick to the main man like glue and absorb as much botanical knowledge as we possibly could. She’d take notes and I’d photograph the plants.The Kisatchie National Forest near Georgetown in Louisiana, southeastern USA is about as rich in arboreal biodiversity as you can get in North America. This was our second visit to this particular area, we camped the first time and thrilled to the fireflies and night music of the forest, crickets, frogs, bats, Chuck-wills-widow and Barred owls. We used a bat detector to slow down the ultrasonic frequency of the bat’s sonar to render it audible.
Are plants sensitive?
The one pictured above certainly is. It is a sensitive Mimosa plant that will retract its leaves when touched.
The workshop began with an essential introduction to herbaceous and woody plants with the sort of insights that come from a life-time of studying them. Straight to the point, we were taught the defining characteristics that aid one in field identification, how to home in on the identity of a plant by using it’s defining characteristics. This year I got so much more out of the class, I think last year my base knowledge was nowhere near as good and the information came at me so thick and fast that it was hard for me to process in time.
I heartily recommend a repeat attendance, not just because you’ll consolidate your learning, but also because we encountered a whole new set of trees and herbaceous perennials this time. It was a fantastic day out and we learned a lot as well as walking in some of Louisiana’s most beautiful natural woodland. Alongside the the scientific knowledge, the professor is often joking and quipping about plants in a very jolly and memorable fashion, which I shan’t relate here, because I wouldn’t want to steal his thunder. All I’ll say is you won’t regret signing up for one of Dr. Allen’s various plant courses. Next year, be sure to sign up for the LMNE Plants Workshop because it really is a super day out. To learn your plants you simply cannot beat walking with an expert botanist like Doctor Allen.
NB The Allens also run a fantastic eco-lodge called Allen Acres, near Pitkin and you can stay there and have a great ecotourism B&B experience for less money than we’ve spent in non-descript chain motels.
Just in case any reader might think plants aren’t interesting, bear in mind that they have been on Earth for about a billion years and have thus had time to co-evolve into a huge variety of shapes, structures and life-styles. The plant Kingdom numbers the tallest, largest and the oldest living organisms. They have shaped the very world we live in, produced most of our atmospheric oxygen, contributed about 3/4 of our medicines, they moderate our climate and are the basis of the terrestrial food pyramid.