Sunday, November 23, 2014

Last Week on the Refuge

The new entrance sign to headquarters, visitor center and where we live while volunteering here at Southeast Louisiana NWR.

Our duties today include mowing at Bogue Chitto. This is one of eight refuges in the complex.

When we go out, we take care of several things while there.

This is a portion of what the area looked like when we finished.

Bogue Chitto has 36,000 acres and surrounds Pearl River. 

This is where we worked on one of the trails in the last blog post.

While there, we blow off the boardwalk.

This is the new addition of the boardwalk where the trail starts and meanders out in the woods (the trail in the last blog post).

Wallace is using the blower

while I use the telescopic trash grabbers to retrieve bottles, cans and bait dishes!!!

I can reach out 20 feet with those things...they really come in handy at several places.

This board needs replacing which we have already taken care of (no photo).

This is just one of four fishing piers at this spot where there is a fishing derby for the kiddos in the summer.

Then we were asked to install two more boat cleats at this fishing pier at Bayou Savage.

We also replaced one of the rail boards.

We have been given the okay to purchase things we need to take care of things we see. 

Then we mowed here.

I was careful to stay clear of the edge...with that ztr mower, it can get away from you!!!

Wallace used the weedeater to finish up the needed to look good because

of a meeting here with a conservation group.

It was early when this picture was taken.

There is always time to play with a critter...a garter snake.  There was a visitor who got to see it...and he appreciated it.

Do you see the little white container? It is a geocache.

We opened it up and put it back. We don't know what to do with a geocache.
I know several of you out there do this sort of thing, but we never have.

Well, low and behold, here is another one...the little black container!!!

We find them only because we are checking out the stability of the decks.

Okay Sharon and Bill, and Mark and Teri...come on over to find them!!!

We will give you a hint...this is the area where they are hidden.

Now, ain't it cute? I tried to put it on my shirt but he preferred my hand!!!

I fixed my chicken spaghetti recipe and rounded up the other volunteers over for eats and cards in our laundry room. We never got around to playing cards but enjoyed each others company. We have really enjoyed working alongside these volunteers as everyone is dedicated to WORK.

Our time will be up December 14th when we move over to Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday

Wednesday, all hands on deck...we are making a loop trail at Bogue Chitto (36,000 acres).

David, park ranger, with his volunteers walking to the site.  It is a continuation of the boardwalk/trail where we are to finish the trail.

The wheelbarrows are waiting to be loaded with the gravel.

Bruce is operating the skid steer, Todd is helping to load.

Todd and Bruce are maintenance workers for the refuge.

Wallace is first in line to grab a load.

Kevin is close behind.

The guys walked the wheelbarrows down the long path to get to the start of the trail.

Cheryl and I are preparing the path...removing large objects while raking it clean of debris.

Then the guys come with the loads of gravel.  Next we rake the gravel level.

This is the way the path now looks.

David is coming with the last load for the day.

He calls it a day for us "OLD" people.
He takes care not to overwork us.

Some head out to lunch, we head out to work on the boardwalk...we do pick up lunch on our way to Bayou Sauvage.

Thursday, we are treated to a first ever air boat ride.

Here we are...with Danny Breaux, refuge manager of Bayou Sauvage.  The other air boat has the deputy project leader of the complex, Pon Dixson.  In his boat is Mike, from the DC office, and David, from the regional office in Atlanta.

While we were at Moosehorn during the summer, Sally Jewel, Secretary of the Interior stopped in for a visit.  Now we have met her assistant, Mike.  What a treat!!!

We are stopped in a 90 foot deep borrow ditch for our first stop.

David is telling us a little bit about the area as we watch for alligators.

Many gators can be found in this particular area of Bayou Sauvage at the boat launch site.

Out on the open water, we counted eleven of them and that is just the ones that were exposed.

This is the spot where used Christmas trees were dropped by helicopter and used to make a wind break.  Plants are now growing on the trees helping to make a barrier...that is a good thing.

Hopefully you can see some of the ducks that took flight in this shot.  

Those air boats make a lot of noise, and I was amazed at how they can travel through the vegetation and over land!!!  We had quite a ride.

Friday was our brochure run...another fun day on the refuge.

Until next time...

Monday, November 3, 2014

What Have We Been Up To?

Diane asked if I would like to help with an EE (environment education) class.

We had over 60 children, and it was fun.

It is so great to get kids OUT to explore.

We have a wonderful area at Big Branch to have this sort of thing presented.

My station was with biology as I helped the group explore what is in the bayou.

There were two other stations:  forestry and fire.

They caught some interesting things:  a water scorpion, a dragonfly nymph, grass shrimp, crawfish, minnows, tadpoles, mosquito fish, water spiders, water beetles.  They determined the water quality is very good.  They would sweep the water with a dip net, then empty it into a container.  We gathered afterwards to discuss their findings with interesting adaptations about each thing in their container.

The next day, a trip to Bayou Sauvage.

Uh oh....this needs attention.

We replaced this board, and found more that need to be replaced.

This boardwalk is at Ridge Trail. Another EE area for classrooms.

We replaced a lot of boards here last year, and noticed there are more to fix.

Here is another boardwalk...Joe Madere, still at Bayou Sauvage where we are loaded up with 32 boards that Wallace cut the day before.  We have all the tools:  two drills, sledge hammer, hammer, screws, bits, (there are always different screws used!!!!), tool bar, wheel barrow, saws will see.

We have a pretty good system going, and we are consistent using the same screws.

Wallace does the hard part and I use the drill, fetch supplies etc.

We had some visitors come by and thanked us, saying how good it looks.  We thank them.

This is what the back end of the pick up looked like when we were finished.

Of course, while we were there, we replaced a sign, picked up trash and tidied up.

There are three boardwalks, and they all need attention.

We will be here for some time. AND what a beautiful area to work at.

Then there is voting to be done and mailed back.

Here Wallace is measuring acrylic to be replaced over a few signs.

This year, we have had two burned vehicles abandoned in the parking lots...they were finally towed away.  In one of the pictures, you will notice one of them in the background.  What an eyesore for awhile!!!

I think that about covers it.

Until next time...