On my adventure through the yard today, I was looking for the host plant for yesterday’s Atteva aurea. I found a winged elm, (Ulmus alata) with chewed leaves. Could this be evidence of a. aurea?
A couple of squirrels were squablin’ or romancin’ (I’m not sure which) in the back corner of the yard. I watched them scurry around and make a ruckus for a while until my eye was drawn to a branch that was illuminated by the early sunlight. I recognized the wide corky wings, and went in for further inspection of this winged elm. The leaves were not palmate (star-shaped), so I knew it wasn’t a sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), the only other tree around with “wings” on its branches. By the way, I’ve just learned, thank you Google, that atala means winged, or to bear wings.
There were quite a few of these galls on the tree’s branches. Someone mentioned in one of our Louisiana Master Naturalists (Northeast chapter) workshops that galls are made when an insect damages the leaves or bark and there is a chemical reaction that forms the gall. The insect lives in and takes nournishment from them–or so I hear. I’m not sure who made the one in the picture above.
So, I’m looking around the tree and about 6 feet up the tree, there are some caterpillars doing headstands. What the heck?!
What are these strange fuzzy, green non-caterpillars? Well, thank goodness for iNaturalist! These belong to the elm finger gall mite (Aceria parulmi), a very tiny arachnid, that has, for better or worse, made this winged elm it’s home.
So with it’s fingers and it’s wings, I’ll leave it to carry on with it’s business. Maybe tomorrow I’ll run into something else interesting in the hedgerow. Thanks for learning with me!
Today’s new species that we’ve discovered is not a beetle like I thought, but a moth like Charles suggested. It is an ermine moth, and most of the species in this family are white or pale gray, giving them the name ermine. Unlike most ermine moths, this moth is diurnal, which means that it is out in the daytime. It was less than an inch long and on our car. We both snapped some pics before it flew. This moth’s host plant is called the tree-of-heaven, or Ailanthus tree. We will do some research and find out if we have any around here. The quest for Ailanthus begins! More to come!
Sunday May 3 – Our Louisiana Master Naturalist Northeast group met by ZOOM due to the need for social distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic and it was great to see people’s faces again and rather interesting to see people at home in our own respective habitats!
This quarterly presentation was made by our member Stuart Hodnett of Ouachita Green, he’s a ‘ can-do’ guy and what he can do is making a massive difference to the quality of the local environment. He gave a PowerPoint presentation on his Non-Profit Organization Ouachita Green, explaining its mission, what they have accomplished in the area recently and inviting all to participate through volunteer activities.
The organization is named after the Ouachita River which itself was named by local Native Americans as ‘Bright Water’ and ‘Rich Hunting Ground’ and aptly named it is! The Ouachita runs from Arkansas into Louisiana and here flows between the ‘Twin Cities’ of Monroe and West Monroe. It is fed by many tributaries and Stuart began his talk by stating the bald fact that almost all the litter, garbage and waste that goes into streets and ditches ends up in our scenic waterways and most of these feed into the Ouachita.
He explained that Ouachita Green is registered as a 501c3 non-profit group, it’s strictly volunteer-based and all their actions are executed by small groups of willing individuals under various sub-banners such as “Keep Ouachita Beautiful”, “Keep Monroe Beautiful”, “Keep West Monroe Beautiful” and also the Ouachita Parish Business Bureau.
Stuart explained that while he is currently pre-occupied with planting 320 Pond Cypress trees in the I20 corridor, their actions fall into four different categories that all concern the improvement of the local environment:
Litter abatement — Ouachita Green has done 8 clean-ups since January 2020 despite COVID disruptions! The first on January 18th removed 5000 lbs of litter! HOA of West Lakes cleared 350 lbs! On Jan. 25th over 250 volunteers helped litter-pick West Monroe’s Restoration Park, in a cooperative event in partnership with the park, First West Bank and H2Go, event volunteers collected 2,070 lbs of waste. There were 21 volunteers from local schools taking part as well. Clean-up events also took place on Feb 4th, 9th, 29th and March 7th before COVID gave him a well-earned rest. On March 7th, 75 people swooped upon the trash in Sterlington and collected 1000 lbs of litter in three hours! Wow! There are also systematic actions, like deployment of cigarette butt recepticals in strategic locations by Ouachita Business Bureau and trash cans beside Cheniere Lake to keep all manner of waste out of the water.
Recycling — Ouachita Green recycles litter from collection events and roadways, also Christmas trees. The recycling Center in West Monroe is currently open and happy to take your materials on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 am to 5 pm. CLICK HERE FOR RECYCLING INFORMATION BROCHURE Recently ULM has come on board and various local schools and businesses too, so there is a growing sense of social momentum! School kids collected 1500 lbs of litter and recyled 250 lbs of plastic over a two month period! You know how much a plastic drinks bottle weighs, so you can imagine the volume! High schools are involved through 4H programs.
Beautification — the litter pick-ups qualify under this heading too of course, but Ouachita Green also runs improvement campaigns such as landscape gardening and tree-planting projects. At the junction of Highways 15 and 165 they’re planting forty native Pond Cypress trees. In partnership with Advantage employees they beautified the Lea Joyner bridge area and also the Desiard Bridge area. They also made the Stella Mill Blue Star Memorial Project.
Environmental education Stuart often appears in the local news and is an active and engaging spokesman for the local environment. He also makes presentations (like this one for us) to teach people about how to help protect the local environment and engage people with environmentally sound activities and volunteering opportunities.
Certain key events repeat every year and there is literally nothing else like them for improving the local environment. Take the Free Household Hazardous Waste collection event for example, the next is scheduled for November 14th, 2020 at Monroe’s Civic Centre from 0900 to 1300 hrs. People can bring a whole range of hazardous house-hold waste including: white ware – fridges, air-conditioners etc., tires, medications, electronics, solvents and cleaners, pesticides, paints, old fuel, old engine or cooking oil, monofilament, etc. Even reusable furniture and unusable furniture. Please bring it along, don’t dump it in the woods or water please, folks.
Ouachita Green collected 101,346 lbs in their 2019 event, that’s up from the 80,957 lbs in 2018.
“Earth School” launches to keep students connected to nature during this period of isolation due to the COVID-19Pandemic
TED-Ed, UNEP, and 30 other collaborators launch a free educational platform for environmental adventures available to teachers, parents, students, and curious global citizens
Nairobi, 22 April 2020 – In response to the COVID-19 crisis, an unprecedented coalition has come together to launch “Earth School,” which provides free, high-quality educational content to help students, parents and teachers around the world who are currently at home. Initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and TED-Ed, Earth School takes students on a 30-day “Adventure” through the natural world.
The curated Earth School content features videos, reading materials and activities — which will be translated into 10 languages — to help students gain an understanding of the environment while considering their role within it. This is the biggest online learning initiative in UNEP’s history and is available for free on TED-Ed’s website.
According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 1.5 billion learners are affected by COVID-19 school closures. The pandemic has caused a health, economic, and education crisis; in the age of physical and social constraints, there is a strong need for global science literacy.
That is why UNEP and TED-Ed — in coordination with 30 collaborators, including National Geographic, WWF and UNESCO — came together to launch Earth School in just over two weeks. Built for children and youth ages 5-18, it spans 30 school days that run between Earth Day and World Environment Day on June 5, which this year will take place under the banner of Time for Nature.
TED-Ed creates free, video-based lessons on everything fromanimals and climate change tounderwater farms. It is the educational arm of TED, whose library of thousands of interactive lessons — built by a network of 500,000 educators from across the world — spans all ages and subjects.
Each Adventure has been carefully selected by a panel of expert practitioners and caters to different age groups. Each consists of a hands-on experiment and nature discovery. In addition to TED-Ed’s own content, Earth School will feature videos from notable media organizations including National Geographic, PBS LearningMedia and the BBC with the goal of empowering participating students to be caretakers of our planet.
“Billions of children are currently out of school because of COVID-19. But learning cannot stop. COVID-19 has revealed how deeply interconnected all life on this planet is,” said UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Andersen. “I am delighted that UNEP, along with TED-Ed and other collaborators, are launching Earth School. Learning about the natural world will be critical to building a better and sustainable future for all.”
“These unprecedented times highlight just how important it is for young people to connect with the natural world and understand science,” said Vicki Phillips, executive vice president and chief education officer at the National Geographic Society. “We’re thrilled to join forces with trusted organizations like UNEP and TED-Ed to cultivate a spirit of exploration and build empathy for the Earth, no matter where students are the world — even if it’s from inside their homes, from a window, or on a short walk in the neighborhood.”
“Despite being confined to their homes, this project shows that students, parents and teachers throughout the world can still engage in science-based learning and adventures together. Earth School is a collaboration between so many talented educators and incredible partners from around the world, which is why we’re proud and thrilled to see the initiative feeding the global curiosity of home-bound students, all of whom are the future environmental stewards of our planet. This platform is a gateway to some of the most inspiring lessons on nature and the environment, and each lesson comes with practical and fun activities that students can engage with and share,” said Logan Smalley, founding director of TED’s youth and education initiative, TED-Ed.
The lessons were curated by a team of environmental education experts including Kathleen Usher Ph.D, Jessie Oliver and Juliane Voss, who worked with over 100 contributors in creating Earth School. The initiative is in support of SDG 4.7 and the Decade of Delivery and will contribute towards the Global Education Coalition launched by UNESCO last month to convene governments, technology partners and leaders in the education field to keep pupils learning. As part of this coalition, UNEP will be exploring how this content can be adapted and shared with children who aren’t able to access the Internet.
Collaborators who have agreed to support this initiative include: BBC Ideas, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Conservation International, CEE, Earth Day Network, Earth Challenge 2020, Environment Online (ENO), GeSI, International Olympic Committee, IUCN, Institute for Planetary Security, Junior Achievement, Learning in Nature, Littlescribe, Minecraft, National Geographic Society, Ocean Wise, Only One, Royal Geographic Society, SciStarter, Sitra, TAT, TED-Ed, The Nature Conservancy, UN Convention on Biodiversity, UN SDSN / TRENDS, UN Technology Innovation Lab, UNCCD, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFCCC, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, University of Pennsylvania, Vult Labs, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), Wild Immersion and WWF.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the UN Environment Programme
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
TED-Ed is TED’s youth and education initiative. TED-Ed’s mission is to spark and celebrate the ideas of teachers and students around the world. Everything we do supports learning — from producing a growing library of original animated videos , to providing an international platform for teachers to create their own interactive lessons, to helping curious students around the globe bring TED to their schools and gain presentation literacy skills, to celebrating innovative leadership within TED-Ed’s global network of over 500,000 teachers. TED-Ed has grown from an idea worth spreading into an award-winning education platform that serves millions of teachers and students around the
“Our Earth’s Future is about the science of climate change and how to talk about it. You will learn from scientists in the fields of climatology, oceanography, Earth science, and anthropology who study how climate change is affecting people, populations, and ways of life. Explore the multiple lines of evidence for the human-induced climate change that is happening today, and consider what that means for the future of our planet. At the end of this course you will be able to understand key scientific principles, identify and address misconceptions, and contribute confidently to conversations about climate change.
Instructor: Debra Tillinger, Ph.D.
Enroll for Free, starts Apr 23. 15,000 + people already enrolled. Suggested 1-3 hours per week.
Instructor is Dr. Tillinger. Bio. Dr. Tillinger holds a Ph.D. in ocean and climate physics from Columbia University. She works at the American Museum of Natural History as an educator on climate change and at Marymount Manhtattan College as an adjunct professor of physics. Her current research is based at NASA/GISS and focuses on the effects of declining sea ice on global climate. In addition to formal science education, Dr. Tillinger also presents scientific information through the arts in character as “Dr. Mermaid.”
Overview of course.
Week 1. Climate Change Is Happening: See It. (2 hours to complete), 4 videos (total 49 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Week 2. It All Comes Down to the Ocean. (1 hour) 4 videos (total 28 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Week 3. Climate Change is Happening: Model It. (1 hour) 3 videos (total 32 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Week 4. Living with Climate Change (1 hour). 5 videos (total 31 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz”
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.