Iberia Parish’s Matt Conn makes New York Times with his wetland restoration project + 120 acres, dripping, oozing in wondrous herbicidedness + a holy-cow prairie remnant!!!

I was treated to the wondrous sight Tuesday of the project property where the mother load, 700 pounds, of wet-coastal prairie seed, seed that I have been collecting this summer, will be planted. The vegetation was nice and toasty brown, the color of awesome death. Yummy!! Boy did this make me (and my seed) happy. ūüôā

After all, why would anyone work so hard and stake so much investment in money, seed and time only to see in three or so years that it all was wasted because the right prep work wasn’t done? I would rather see the weedy vegetation totally-wasted, and my seed, so precious and rare, and so hard to acquire,¬†given a proper chance for survival. No, this seed deserves an opportunity for a long and healthy life.


above, looking west from the center of the property in southern Calcasieu Parish (click pic to enlarge)


above, looking north ……and into the bright future…

After the visit to the planting¬†site, I was then lead by¬†a good friend and mentor across the creek (the Calcasieu River) to see what he said was definitively “the most significant coastal prairie site in the state”. This coming from a fellow who at his early age, has just about seen it all. Pretty sure he was right with that claim, after seeing it with my own eyes. It was an old cattle farm property that had never been plowed, complete with monstrous pimple mounds, low prairie, and an occasional marias, all filled with premier prairie vegetation and very little, almost no, foreign invaders. On the pimple mounds were the high and dry species, some common in¬†the Looziana sandy piney woods. At the base of and surrounding the mounds were the heavy-soil low-land species. And in the marias were the marginal aquatic and aquatic species, all thick like hair on a dog’s back. We walked through dense vegetation. We worked for our reward since it was a good, hot day albeit a bit over cast and a long way to go. We¬†made a large loop with many smaller dipseydoodle-loops through what I’m guessing was about¬†ten to fifteen acres or more of land and saw only a small portion of what was there to be seen. When we were done, we were both dripping wet, soaked to our boots. Had a good work-out/ detox! Spent over¬†two hours ooh-ing and ah-ing. I am not sure who was more excited,¬†he¬†or¬†I. In April, he and his colleagues had used fire in the way of controlled burn, to breathe new life into this amazingly diverse prairie remnant, something it had not seen for many many years.

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My friend Chris in Little Bluestem grass, with tall, wiry spikes of Florida Paspalum in foreground. On right, the milkweed Asclepias obovata, with the foliage (above my hand) of Twisted leaf Goldenrod, Solidago tortifolia (click on pics to enlarge ’em, ya’ll)

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Twisted leaf Goldenrod just barely coming into color on left (it was stunningly electric), and the chalky blue of Andropogon virginicus var. glaucopsis, Blue leafed Broomsedge. Can you say drool?

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above, a sea of Solidago tortifolia and Liatris pychnostachya, and an odd-ball colored Pychnostach of thousands there, a lighter shade of pnerple!

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Chris, wading through the pycnostach, and the whiteness of Eupatorium hissopifolia on right (a pod of passion vine in my hand). num num!


Pinky-purple Muhly grass in color with a crispy-black skeletal remains of a juvenile wax myrtle in foreground/ right


the daisy-like Bidens aristosa, umbels of twisted leaf Goldenrod, spikey liatris and barely visible naked inflorescences of Florida Paspalum


above, yours truly in a marias pothole, about an acre in diameter. I went straight for the center where the Eliocharis quadrangularis was. How cool is this folks?!!!! Water was about six inches deep throughout the pothole.


dried up leaves of American Lotus,¬†amongst the dense, lush foliage of Panicum hemitomum. “Lotus in a prairie”, said the Zen master.


Chris and I agreed that we both had never seen anything close to this size of a stand of the delightful¬†mint, Hyptis alata, Cluster Bushmint. This is a highly significant plant, attractive to numerous nectaring insects. This patch was about two acres in size. Woah! We were both likes little kids in a candy store. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We had found heaven on Earth.


I spotted an anomaly out of the ten thousand Hyptus plants, a double flowering form that stuck out like a sore thumb, above


Eupatorium rotundifolium, insect airport


Here you can barely make out a green mound on which Chris stands. A pimple mound that rose about six feet above the surrounding area, supporting unique vegetation. Dude.



No need for me to dream tonight! (me and my grin, a selfie, through a fogged-up smart phone lens)

Folks!!!! check out The New York Times article on Iberian Matt Conn. Matt bought seed from us last year for part of his 60 acre wetland restore. A well-done article on a cool young dude with lots of ambition. see the link below. read it and weep.


also check out Matt’s blog ¬†¬†http://turtleboyandthebirds.blogspot.com/


From Charles Allen: Fun with Botany in Kisatchie, etc.!



Friday March 28, 2014  

11:30 am (1130 HR):¬† Chris Reid will present ‚ÄúRare Plants of Louisiana‚ÄĚ as part of Ft Polk‚Äôs monthly brown bag series. ¬† Chris is the Botanist for Louisiana Natural Heritage Program.¬† The Brown Bag will be held in Building 2537 on 23rd St. You can drive onto Ft. Polk and get a pass at the guard station at the west entrance on Louisiana Ave off U.S. 171 south of Leesville and north of Pickering.¬† Another option is to come to Allen Acres and share a ride with Charles Allen.¬† I will probably depart from Allen Acres around 10 am.¬† You would probably want to bring your lunch; there are fast food choices on base but are usually very busy at lunch.¬† For directions to the building, email or call Charles Allen (Charles.M.Allen1@us.army.mil or native@camtel.net¬† 337-531-7535 or 337-328-2252).


2 pm:  Plant ID and butterfly plant workshop.  Dr. Charles Allen will lead the workshop.  Meet at Allen Acres.  We will see the national champion Large Gallberry tree on nearby Forest Service land.  See directions to Allen Acres below.


6 pm-till:  Potluck supper (dinner), slides, networking, etc.  Allen Acres (For directions, see below).  We also hope to have a night tour to the river to see fireflies (lightning bugs), spider eyes, and maybe ? foxfire and hear owls.


Saturday, March 29, 2014:


9 am (0900 HR):¬† Forest Service Traditional BBBBB” Tours of Bogs and Baygalls: Meet at Allen Acres (See below) and we will caravan to the sites.¬† Tours will include pitcher plant bogs, upland areas, and other ecosystems.¬† Orchids, pitcher plants, and other interesting plants should be seen.¬† Several different kinds of birds including the red cockaded woodpecker, butterflies, and other animals might be encountered.¬† Bring your own snacks, water, or other beverages.¬† The bogs are wet so dress accordingly.


12 noon-1:30 pm (1200-1330 HR):¬† Lunch, at Allen Acres.¬† “Susan’s Chinese Food” (Donations Accepted)


1:30 pm:¬† Chris Reid will present ‚ÄúRare Plants of Louisiana‚ÄĚ


3 PM ‚ÄúAfternoon Field Trip‚ÄĚ Depending on group‚Äôs interests etc.¬† perhaps a tour of yellow lady slippers?¬† Begin from Allen Acres (see below)


6:00 pm-730 pm “Susan’s Chinese Food‚ÄĚ Supper (dinner), net-working, slides, etc.


730 pm till.   We also hope to have a night tour to the river to see fireflies (lightning bugs), spider eyes, and maybe ? foxfire and hear owls.


Sunday March 30, 2014:


9 am (0900 HR “More Tours ??”¬† Meet at Allen Acres.¬† The tour will depend on what is in flower and group interest.


For more information, contact Dr. Charles Allen or Susan Allen 337-328-2252 or 337-531-7535 email native@camtel.net.  You are invited to stay in the B and B (www.allenacresbandb.com).


Directions to our house: From the east sides of the state, get on La 10 going west out of Oakdale and follow La 10 thru Elizabeth and Pitkin and then six miles past Pitkin, you will enter Cravens.  In Cravens you will turn south (left) onto La 399.  La 399 is just east of the two stores in Cravens.  If you are coming from the west, you will turn onto La 10 at Pickering and follow La 10 just south of Ft Polk and continue east for about 15 miles.  After entering Cravens, watch for the store on the right and then turn right onto La 399.  Now all are on La 399, follow it south for 1.8-1.9 miles and in a sharp curve to the left, turn right into our driveway.  If you are coming from the south, get on La 112 (an east-west road) just sw of DeRidder and turn north onto La 399.  You will travel north on La 399 for six miles and turn left into Allen Acres.