Kelby Ouchley

Kelby was a biologist and manager of National Wildlife Refuges for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 30 years. He has worked with alligators in gulf coast marshes and Canada geese on Hudson Bay tundra. His most recent project was working with his brother Keith of the Louisiana Nature Conservancy on the largest floodplain restoration project in the Mississippi River Basin at the Mollicy Unit of the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, reconnecting twenty-five square miles of former floodplain forest back to the Ouachita River.

Kelby was instrumental in the the establishment of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge and its development as a premier environmental education site. Kelby has an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M University.

In 2011 he collected his essays that have aired on KEDM into the book Bayou-Diversity: Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country. He is also the author of Flora and Fauna of the Civil War: an Environmental Reference Guide, Iron Branch: A Civil War Tale of a Woman In BetweenAmerican Alligator – Ancient Predator in the Modern World as well as many scientific and popular articles. Among other honors Kelby recently received the National Wildlife Federation Governor's Conservationist of the Year Award.

He and his wife Amy live in the woods near Rocky Branch, Louisiana, in a cypress house surrounded by white oaks and black hickories. Kelby's website is bayou-diversity.com.

Ways to Connect

Wildlife Values

Jan 8, 2018
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Most Bayou Diversity programs involve wildlife in some form or fashion.  But who places value on wildlife and just how much is wildlife worth these days?  A recent report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is enlightening.

Bobcats

Jan 1, 2018
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

I saw a ghost a while back.  He appeared out of thin air, transformed a peaceful, bucolic scene into murderous chaos, and vanished in seconds.  I loved it.  It was one of the never-to-be-forgotten highlights of my experiences in the natural world.

Wise Ones

Dec 25, 2017
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

We are losing the old wise ones.  Some of our most erudite naturalists never heard a professor's lecture or studied in a biology lab that reeked of formalin and moth balls.  Still, they know the eddies where giant flathead catfish prowl and ridge-top trails of foraging coyotes.

Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Historians agree that the American president with the greatest conservation legacy was Theodore Roosevelt.  Among his many accomplishments in that arena was the protection of millions of acres that became units of the National Forest and National Park systems.  Additionally, he protected another group of lands and waters specifically for their wildlife values.  These became components of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Fox Folklore

Dec 11, 2017
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

While on a late afternoon walk in the bottom north of the house, I heard a commotion in the dry, freshly fallen leaves beyond the creek.  Something was coming my way.  Suddenly, a red fox appeared in mid-air as he leaped across Rocky Branch, barely flowing in the late autumn drought.

Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Thank you, O Lord, in this bountiful season for the five senses to relish your world.  

Thank you for the succulent smells of the fruits of the earth in the kitchens of our mothers and wives.

Thank you for the odor of rich delta dirt on a warm, foggy winter morning.

Thank you for the smell of wood smoke, especially that tinted with lighter'd pine.

Thank you for the stew of odors distinct to our rivers and bayous: cypress needles, primal water, life and life-to be.

Wilderness

Nov 6, 2017
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

As a species we humans are infamous for behavior not conducive to our own long-term well-being.  Consider the frequency of wars, the unbridled depletion of earth's finite resources, and the "me now" attitude of our consumptive society.  There are, however, shining examples of far-sightedness in America, even in the halls of Congress.  A prime example is the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Louisiana Hippos

Oct 23, 2017
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

When it comes to politics, especially in Louisiana, one really can't make some of this stuff up.  Absurd political conduct has a long history in the Bayou State as illustrated by Congressman Robert Broussard's legislation, H.R. 23261, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1910.  The press labeled it the "American Hippo Bill."

Eclipse and Science

Oct 16, 2017
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

What a glorious event it was, this eclipse of 2017.  With family and friends we gathered in a remote sagebrush meadow along the South Fork of the Payette River in Idaho, a stream fresh from the Sawtooth Wilderness that still carried snowmelt even on this late summer morning.  Our chosen viewing post fell directly in the path of the umbra - the shadow projected when the sun is entirely blocked by the moon.

Fall Colors

Oct 9, 2017
Ouchley
K. Ouchley

Every autumn a multitude of people in the northern hemisphere contributes billions of dollars to local economies in order to look at brightly colored leaves.  The attraction, when green leaves of hardwood trees turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, red, and purple, is a result of chemistry pure and simple.  Well - simple to a chemist maybe.

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