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Bayou-Diversity (28 June 2020) In 1906 John Martin Goyne was awarded a contract with the state of Louisiana to cut a road from Crossroads to West Monroe. It came to be known as White’s Ferry Road and runs more or less north-south across the southeast corner of the D’Arbonne Swamp. According to the Louisiana Department of Highways about 4,000 vehicles travel this way each day. Like many natural areas, the swamp is basically unknown to most people passing through it including those who live nearby. Today, maybe 200 people in the regional metropolitan area of 175,000 have some familiarity with it and the wild flora and fauna. Their knowledge was acquired for the most part while engaged in

Pond Spoor

Bayou-Diversity (21 June 2020) Deer, gray squirrel and gray fox, ‘possum, raccoon, armadillo all come to the drying pond now leaving their spoor in the encircling halo of mud. What a difference between equinoxes. Six feet deep in the spring, the pond reflects the harvest moon from a surface barely eighteen inches above the muck bottom. Daily evaporation sucks away at the pond’s diameter. Except for the squirrels, most of the mammals come at night or at the crepuscular times in between. Deer, some heavy in their splayfooted tracks, others with hooves of the year barely larger than a nickel, wade into the tepid water to drink. The armadillo trudges like a tank plowing a trail into the

Poison Ivy

Bayou-Diversity (14 June 2020) At the same time President Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the Missouri and Columbia Rivers he commissioned William Dunbar to conduct a similar expedition on the Ouachita River from its mouth to the legendary Hot Springs in present day Arkansas. Dunbar’s mandate was similar to Meriwether Lewis’ in that he was required to record and describe native plants and wildlife observed during the journey. One passage in his journal reads, “We have a Vine called the poison vine, from a property it possesses of affecting some persons passing near it, by causing an inflammation of the face resembling an Erysipelas. Other persons may handle this vine wit

 

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