Bayou-Diversity

Monday at 9 a.m., Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. and Thursday at 1 p.m.

Kelby Ouchley, former manager of Black Bayou Lake and other area National Wildlife Refuges, provides expert insight into the flora and fauna of Louisiana. Each week, he brings awareness of conservation ethics and education about what makes our area special -- and worth preserving.

Archived editions of Bayou-Diversity (December 2014 and older) can be found here.

Ways to Connect

Bayou Topogeny

May 8, 2017
Xavier Lambrecht / Flickr.com https://tinyurl.com/meeq5vf

There is little doubt that most indigenous cultures perceived their connectivity to and place on the landscape very differently than modern society.

The relationship was knowledgeable to the point of intimacy with the geography of their lives. Such wisdom was and in many cases remains critical for survival. Knowing and labeling the places where fish concentrated, where the enemy lurked, where refuge could be found in the time of flood was essential.

Dendritic Patterns

May 1, 2017
Devin Stein / Flickr.com https://tinyurl.com/muzzbbh

Persistent patterns of nature permeate our bodies and our environment, and for the most part go unrecognized by all but the very observant. One ubiquitous design is the dendritic pattern.

Dendritic refers to a shape that resembles a branch tree. It is a pattern that is associated with growth or movement. Consider how the main trunk of a oak forks into large limbs that form again and again into smaller branches and twigs.

Pawpaws

Apr 28, 2017
Anna Hesser / Flickr.com https://tinyurl.com/m5qtlj5

During one of the earliest European explorations of interior North America in 1541 Hernando de Soto's scribes wrote of a particular tropical-like fruit that was being cultivated by Native Americans.

When President Thomas Jefferson sent William Dunbar and George Hunter to explore the Ouachita River in 1804, Hunter recorded a small Bayou named after this plant that entered the river on the east side about a league above the mouth of Bayou Bartholomew.

Conservation Ethics

Apr 17, 2017
Woody Hibbard / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/m4htyt9

My boyhood in Louisiana was immersed in a culture where conservation ethic did not exist in the general populace.

The notion was that wildlife was there for the taking, not unlike blackberries or mayhaws in the swamp. As a carryover of attitude about natural resources since Europeans arrived in North America, it was a lingering remnant of 19th century arrogance defined as Manifest Destiny.

Those Sensual Plants

Apr 10, 2017

Does your magnolia tree in the front yard have feelings?  How about the Better Boy tomato plants that you pinched the suckers from yesterday?  In order to evoke feelings it is necessary to capture some sort of stimuli from our surroundings, and for that to happen we need sensory receptors.

Carolina Wren

Apr 3, 2017

Though mates for life, for much of the year they sleep on opposite sides of our house in the woods.  One we call the east wren.  This is the male.  The west wren is the female that sometimes roosts above the front door or in a wind chime that she often rings on a dead calm evening seemingly for her own amusement.

Louisiana Ferries

Mar 27, 2017

Louisiana's bayous and rivers have long been considered blessings and banes, depending on one's preferred mode of transportation.  In a land laced with aquatic arteries, streams were the only practical means of conveyance for centuries.  Only when colonial authorities began planning a system of roads to facilitate European settlement and economic development did the waterways become appreciated as substantial barriers to progress.

Swamp Sleep

Mar 20, 2017

Swamps sleep naked and are slow to awaken.  Long after green-up in the uplands, deep overflow swamps that sustain Louisiana bayous and rivers remain quiescent, prolonging winter dormancy until the threat of natural spring flooding has past.

It can't be spoken in soft words for there is no other way to put it.  Whether you are for it or against it, the recent sea change in American politics has led to an all-out assault on this country's long-held environmental policies and laws.  Barring effective pushback, a future of drastic change seems certain for our biotic natural resources.

Spotted Bass

Jan 23, 2017

Always in late February when the first white crawfish reached two inches in length, a ritual began in the D'Arbonne Swamp that included my father, his cousin, and me, an adolescent youth in those years a half century ago.  The object of the tradition was to procure "smallmouth bass" for the deep, black skillet.

 

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