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Native Plants - A Better Alternative

Bayou-Diversity (23 February 2020) Warm weather will soon be tickling the lawn and garden itch of many Louisiana residents. I’d like to suggest a different way to scratch it. Forego the usual pilgrimage to purchase exotic bedding plants, fertilizer, insecticides and herbicides and consider converting at least part of your yard to native plants. Native plants are simply those plants that occur (or once occurred) naturally in a given area. They include trees, shrubs and wildflowers, and there are many good reasons to grow them. Low maintenance is a virtue in today’s busy world. Common sense dictates that plants which adapted over thousands of years to grow in an area will thrive better

Those Yankee Girls

Bayou-Diversity (16 February 2020) I cannot choose just one favorite bird that inhabits Louisiana swamps. You must allow me several. However, in the avian guild no species embodies the essence of a southern swamp more than the wood duck. Considered by many to be the most beautiful of North American waterfowl, wood ducks have been revered for centuries. Native Americans in the lower Mississippi Valley commonly depicted wood ducks on pottery and ceremonial pipes. The first Europeans here noticed the wood duck, and Cabeza de Vaca may have been the first to describe the species in his account of a bird he called the “royal drake” in 1527. In my youth I knew this species by the colloquial n

Bayou Bartholomew & Biodiversity

Bayou-Diversity (9 February 2020) Anxiously they lay in wait - Fox, Sun Flower, Persia, Sydonia, Red Chief, Lucy Robinson, Young America, W.W. Farmer, Kate Dale - their captains eyeing the slowly rising waters of the Ouachita. During the last half of the nineteenth century, these steamboats and others would gather at the mouth of Bayou Bartholomew just above Sterlington usually in late November or early December. When winter rains raised water levels high enough for navigation, the normally quiet bayou seethed with activity as the steamboats churned its waters in a dash to serve the wealthy cotton planters and small communities along its shores. In varying degrees the activity continued

Prehistoric Fishing

Bayou-Diversity (2 February 2020) Native Americans were masters at exploiting the natural resources of their environment whether in southwestern deserts or southern swamps. Fish were highly desirable sources of protein as evidenced by their remains in hundreds of archaeological sites. Techniques for obtaining fish ran the gamut from hook and line, woven seines, and poisons from wild plant materials such as green walnut hulls. Especially in the eastern half of the U.S., Indians devised another method to trap fish on shallow, flowing streams by building V-shaped, rock dams or weirs. The structures funneled fish into a small opening at the point of the V where a box trap often made of cane


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