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Naturalist Crosses the Lake (version 9.0)

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8-4-21 version 9.0

Source: Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission

A NATURALIST CROSSES

LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN

By Robert A. (Bob) Thomas, Center for Environmental Communication, School of Mass Communication, and The Environment Program, Loyola University New Orleans (Certified Master Naturalist, Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater New Orleans Chapter) – rathomas@loyno.edu, 504-865-2107

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8-4-21 version 9.0

A NATURALIST CROSSES LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN

Drive Down Bayou Lafourche

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Drive Down Bayou Lafourche
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10-17--21 Version 6.5

DRIVE DOWN BAYOU LAFOURCHE: A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF NATURAL HISTORY, ECONOMIC, AND CULTURAL ASPECTS OF THE DRIVE FROM U.S. 90 TO GRAND ISLE, PORT FOURCHON, AND ELMER’S ISLAND, LOUISIANA

By Robert A. Thomas, Loyola Center for Environmental Communication, School of Communication & Design, Loyola University New Orleans, & Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater New Orleans (rathomas@loyno.edu, 504-865-2107)

Mardi Gras Trees Were in Full Bloom

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Mardi Gras Trees Were in Full Bloom

This past week, New Orleans’ Mardi Gras trees (Arbor carnivalense) suddenly burst into full bloom, becoming

festooned with bright colors that sparkle in the sunlight.  

 

This species seems to occur predominately along parade routes (or, do we route our parades along streets

Hairy Buttercup: Ranunculus sardous

April is the month of horizon-to-horizon yellow in fields and roadsides throughout our region.  Yellow catches the eye during a drive past City Park on Robert E. Lee Boulevard, and an otherwise boring trip (ahem, for the non-naturalist, that is) to Shreveport on I-49 exposes one to vast stretches of the culprit – Hairy Buttercup, Ranunculus sardous.  The same is true for all the birders making their pilgrimages to Grand Isle and other sites “down da bayou.”

Shoreline Sedge

Something that all naturalists experience is finding a species that they don't know.  For the average person, it is impossible to know all of nature, and my challenge, and one of my loves, is plants.

I've walked the boardwalk at Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, Southeastern Louisiana University's facility on Main Pass near Manchac, many times.

Drummond Red Maples, Acer rubrum var. drummondii: The Color of Winter.

Red Maple, Acer rubrum, is a native species that has crossed the line and become one of the most popular trees chosen for yards.  Their horticultural advantages are that they are fast growing and are deciduous, so the leaves give shade on hot summer days, yet allow warming sunlight through during cool winter periods.  Other wonderful features include their winter/early spring red flowers and buds, followed by showy red samaras, their winged “helicopter” seeds.  In fall, they are again showy when their leaves turn brilliant red to