PH to collaborate on wetland forest restoration-Chalmette Nat Military Park

Pastorek Habitats has been chosen to work as lead horticultural consultant to the Landscape Architect firm, The Design Workshop, to assist with the design and construction documents for a new wetland forest project at the Chalmette Battlefield National Military Park, Chalmette, La..

The winning concept for the Park’s re-design was chosen through a design competition held by The LSU School of Art and the Battle of New Orleans Bicentennial Commission in October 2013. This wetland area is but a phase of a larger scope of work that is planned over time.

The Pastorek Habitats-The Design Workshop team has worked together closely since November 2011 on the Lafitte Greenway and Revitalization Corridor project, along with team members Larry Weaner Landscape Associates of Glenside, Pa., and local landscape architect firm Dana Brown Associates. As a result of this collaboration, The Design Workshop recieved an ASLA Award of Excellence for Planning and Analysis at the annual meeting in Chicago in 2013. The Greenway officially opened a month or so ago.

Looking forward to working with Workshop Landscape Architects Kurt Culbertson and Conners Ladner on this new, exciting project. Kurt and Conners are both fellow native Louisianans.


Kiroli Park, West Monroe, Louisiana – planted

After two years, the design and prep work has been completed and seed has been sown for a cool prairie meadow at the West Monroe Parks and Recreation crown jewel – Kiroli Park. The gardens at Kiroli will be enjoyed as part of the northern leg of trails at the Park, an addition of biodiversity to what is already a substantial natural landscape. Kiroli is a former Boy Scout camp with old second growth Short Leaf Pine woods and bottomland forest, an unusually nice naturalistic park.

Preparation for the planting started last spring and has continued through the fall, culminating with the seeding of Pine prairie seed, collected from high quality pine herb-understory vegetation.


The golden-yellow leaves of an aging Ginko tree (above, right) reflect the fall sunlight in the upland meadow opening at Kiroli Park, West Monroe, Louisiana last Friday -while I was seeding the gardens.


above, an area at the bottom of two slopes, all seeded, and snuggled in wheat hay.

The Biology Department at UL Monroe will soon be involved with the Kiroli meadows through it’s Conservation Biology lab class.


Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society and Capitol Area Native Plant Society join to plant Prairie-Butterfly garden at Burden Rural life Museum, Baton Rouge

I delivered seed to Ken Bosso Monday – rare seed that was planted to establish a natural prairie-butterfly habitat at the Burden Center. This is the first natural prairie established via seed within the confines of East Baton Rouge Parish, so a big, significant step for a city that happens to host the State’s largest University. Students can’t learn about a prairie unless they can walk into one, and sadly, the closest one to for the University students and general public now is in Hammond, Louisiana, forty miles away. Thats a fur piece, ya’ll. Ken Bosso initiated the planting at Burden. Ken’s a retiree, an enthusiastic and very active butterfly buff. So thank you Ken, and to the Cajun Prairie Society and Capitol Area Native Plant Society folks who organized and helped in planting the garden.


Doyle’s Bayou Park, Baton Rouge Parks and Rec natural prairie, soon, soon, baboon

Plans are in the making now for work to begin with the Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks group (BREC), through it’s Conservation Officer Matthew Herron in association with Dr. Kyle Harms, Biologist at LSU, on a natural meadow project near Zachary, Louisiana. More on that, the second meadow initiative in east BR Parish, soon.


City of Hattiesburg’s Chain Park and I-59 Interchange Prairie Gardens Discussed

A meeting was held between the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi’s Sustainability Officer Nkrumah Frazier and myself about the idea of designing natural meadows – pollinator gardens at Chain Park, which is a large public park managed by the City, located at the north end of the city, on the west bank of the Leaf River.

The Park is somewhat typical of most, with scattered trees and lots of mowed turf grass, but a closer look will reveal that it has a native character, with Dwarf Palmetto and native shrub gardens of Wax Myrtle and Yaupons. All of the trees there are native and include the luxuriant Long Leaf Pine, Pinus palustrus.

Pastorek Habitats has provided a list of recommendations for the next steps to take in order to see this idea through.

chain pk

There is plenty of room for meadow biodiversity in the open-mowed spaces of Chain Park. We hope to add up to an acre of Pine prairie habitat at some point in the very near future.


LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum Natural Meadows making design phase progress

After a years of steady progress, there is still life in the idea that one day soon, LSU will have its own natural stands of southern Louisiana prairie to be located in the northern part of the Arbo property. Director of the Arboretum, Peggy Coates called this week as they are preparing to develop a fundraising brochure for the prairies and other gardens at Hilltop.

Reed-Hilderbrant Landscape Architects and PH have collaborated on earlier phases of design on to the next phase. Go Team!

Reed-Hilderbrant is the firm who redesigned Repentance Park, in Baton Rouge’s downtown area. We consulted on the design specifications on the Indian grass slope garden there, which has been a horticultural hit. The Indian grass is of Cajun Prairie genetics, grown by Gail Barton of Meridian, Ms.

Youngsville Episcopal School prairie progress!

A wonderful story has come to light and it starts with Eric Vanbergen, a 9th grader Ascension Episcopal High School. He reached out to the Cajun Prairie Society for assistance with an idea of building a prairie garden at his High School. This, through the help and leadership of Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society President Brian Sean Early, resulting in a meeting in which the school has decided two go feet-first into the prairie building business as they look at ten acres of land that they want to transition into Cajun (Coastal tall grass) Prairie habitat.

Brian has asked me to join him in developing the idea and presenting a plan for establishing and managing their prairie garden site. Thanks to Eric’s initiative and inquisitiveness, the Lafayette, Louisiana area will have yet another prairie to graze in, folks.

Awesome work Eric and Brian and Ascension Episcopal High School Blue Gators!!!!!!!

here is Eric’s note to the Society

Hello Cajun Prairie Preservation Society, I am a 9th grade student at Ascension Episcopal School in Youngsville, Louisiana. I have been researching Cajun Prairie for about half a year now and am almost finished reading Malcolm F. Vidrine’s book, The Cajun Prairie: A Natural History. My school is very open minded and are interested in my idea of restoring the habitat in some way on its campus. I was interested in knowing if anyone from the society, especially the leading experts, are interested in helping restoration at my school if I am successful. I would mainly want help from professionals when it comes to tasks like seeding and maintenance through fire. Also, if anyone has any advice on how I can obtain a Cajun Prairie seed mix and how I can incorporate and ensure the success of showy natives like Prairie Blazing Stars, Compass Plants, and Coral Beans that would be very helpful. I would appreciate any advice that anyone has on the project. Thank you.

The school is on-board with fire, introducing controlled burns – natural succession. They will use the area for educational tours and are looking to incorporate the prairie into the science program at their elementary and middle schools as well.

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Youngsville Episcopal High School

You can see that we have our work cut-out for us with lots of established woody vegetation to kill and manage. But this is kid’s play for a prairie dog – nothing to it! The ten acre field is to the left of the football field, encircled by a white line. click to enlarge photos

This is but one of the items Brian mentioned in his note to the Society after the meeting with the School was held. I thought this was particularly creative.

Prairie Ambassadors: AES actually has three schools in the Lafayette area; which are a grade school, middle school, and high school.  The high school students will learn about the prairie ecology then invite the other schools (both AES schools and other local schools)  and community members to visit their prairie and the AES high schools students will lead tours and become the teachers or Prairie Ambassadors.  The school is not concerned with any aesthetic aspects of this project.  They are more concerned about it being an effective teaching tool. Several students and teachers joined me as we walked the site  and they are all very exited about this project, as am I.
So what the school has asked us to do:
1) Develop a management plan including several restoration techniques,  study plots, timeline, and a cost estimate.
2) Provide seed
3) Help establish the study plots and train teachers and their community about prairie restoration, and the cultural significance of the Cajun Prairie 
4) Help promote their projects on our website and social media
saweeet!!! a real ecological restoration, for sure.

Pastorek Habitats has record breaking seed collection year –  a bumper crop!

This year, even with our rainy fall weather, PH has amassed and stored its largest selection and collection of seed ever. Give us a call if you have an interest in producing cool prairie garden landscapes. We’ll help you design a truly sustainable landscape for your favorite public or private space.

peace, ya’ll.


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