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


Apr 28, 2017
Anna Hesser /

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 /

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
K. Ouchley

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
K. Ouchley

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
K. Ouchley

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
K. Ouchley

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.

K. Ouchley

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
K. Ouchley

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.



Jan 16, 2017
K. Ouchley

Since the founding of America, attitudes toward nature have changed and they continue to do so.  Early pioneers maintained a European mind-set, considering nature an entity to be conquered, civilized and rid of competing wild beasts as necessary.  The theory of manifest destiny reflected a theological belief that settlers were divinely appointed to "use" the earth for the enhancement of civilization, no holds barred.  Such attitudes eventually led to the decimation of Native Americans and the extinction or near extinction of several animals.


Carolina Parakeet

Jan 9, 2017
K. Ouchley

They were thought of as noisy mobs of rogues hell-bent on destruction.  They swarmed the grain fields and orchards of European settlers consuming the fruits of hard labor.  If they possessed redeeming qualities it was only after they were dead and skinned, either for decoration on women's hats or fried in lard for the table.  Linnaeus named them Carolina parakeets in 1758, and within that group there was a subspecies with slightly different colored plumage called the Louisiana parakeet.