Charles Allen does Christo-like prairie-art installation!

This past Saturday, the prairie dogs showed up at the Duralde Prairie restoration site to permanently stake-off the new demonstration plots. In the end, the installation was Christo-like in effect, producing what looks like a giant 2 acre pin cushion.


click to enlarge


the poles actually lay out the grid design so that mowers can regularly groom the six feet wide paths between each 10 x 12 feet planting blocks. The individual blocks were planted last year with seed of high conservancy Cajun Prairie species. There will be a 6 six feet wide walking path wrapping around each planting block. Each species will soon be labeled.


The effort was designed by Charles Allen, Andrew Dolan and myself. Andrew secured funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fund the seed collection and planting/ management of the site. Five additional blocks were planted Saturday. There are a total of 88 blocks, 74 are now complete. We will gather the remaining 14 species of seed next year for our species wish list and will add more seed to some seed to some of the blocks that we only had a small collection for in the original plantings. We were short on seed of one milkweed and lacking altogether in another.  We will continue to add seed to enhance the gardens in the next few years so that they’ll grow up big and pretty! There are already some neat up-and-coming seedling stands beginning to show. We are confident that this huge garden will provide a good demonstration of the beauty and function of these fabulous native plants. Come see it at the Cajun Prairie spring meeting. see

duralde demo plot

click on the photo to see the enlarged version of the google earth image of the two acre site, a square in the center of the image. The Duralde property is the Evangeline Parish unit of the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge.

z duralde

see the same property but from 5 miles high. It is awash in farm land. Its the only large area of naturally managed land for miles. You can see the drainage “coulee” just below the Demo square and the pipeline crossing the property just above the Demo square


a few of the prairie dog workers, at rest. Dr. Charles Allen, Margaret Frey, and Jacob Delahoussey. Stacy Huskins and Jim Foret, not shown. Is that a new punk-rock hair-cut Margaret has or just the wind making her look retro? Charles wore a hat so that wouldn’t happen to him.


breakfast for prairie dogs



What next?  a commission for an installation in New York’s Central Park? Ah, yes…


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