Wanda Lee Dickey
Special course: The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries will offer a free one-day boating education course at the Barataria Preserve Environmental Education Center. A vessel operators certification card is issued to participants who successfully complete this course. Note that all persons born after January 1, 1984, must complete this course to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower. The course includes information on choosing a boat, legal requirements, navigation rules and charts, and more. Free but space limited so call the preserve visitor center 504-689-3690 ext. 10 for reservations. 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday, September 5.
Beginners bird walk - Learn to find and identify preserve birds by sight and by sound, then join the worldwide birding community with a lesson in how to use the preserve's eBird kiosk to report sightings. For beginners age 10 and up, but all skills levels are welcome. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes, and field guides if you have them. Free but space limited so call 504-689-3690 ext. 10 for reservations. 8:00-10:00 a.m., Saturday, September 12.
Volunteer project: Roll up your sleeves and give your public lands a helping hand on Saturday, September 26, 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. It's National Public Lands Day, and you can work on clean-up and fix-up projects at the Barataria Preserve or at Chalmette Battlefield/Chalmette National Cemetery. Information about registration, who can join the hard-working fun, and what to bring is at the link.
Special exhibit: "Louisiana: Close to Home and Close to Heart" is a collection of works by local photographer Lane Lefort. Lefort captures the constantly changing world of coastal Louisiana; his work was recently featured in "I Remember....," an exhibit that traveled throughout Louisiana under the sponsorship of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act program. Free. Now through Sunday, November 1.
Hunting permits: Applications for permits to hunt at the Barataria Preserve during the 2015-2016 season will be issued beginning Saturday, September 5. The last day to apply for a permit is Thursday, October 1.
The Barataria Preserve outside Marrero offers a taste of Louisiana's wild wetlands. The preserve's 23,000 acres include bayous, swamps, marshes, forests, alligators, nutrias, and over 200 species of birds (learn more about preserve wildlife here). Boardwalk and dirt trails wind through the preserve; check out the trail map, enjoy a self-guided tour, or explore with a cell phone tour. Exhibits at the preserve visitor center highlight how the Mississippi River built Louisiana's wetlands, the national importance of the area, and the relation between the land and its people. Kids can earn a badge with the Junior Ranger program. An environmental education center is used for field trips and special programs. The center's museum store has books, music, children's books, insect repellent, field guides, and more on sale. Admission to the preserve is free. Follow these links for the park's calendar of events, exhibits, and programs; for directions and transportation options; and for accessibility information.
6588 Barataria Boulevard, Marrero (near Crown Point) (If you use a GPS system, doublecheck it with the map since not all systems find the preserve successfully)
Wanda Lee Dickey
Follow the link to learn about animals and plants in south Louisiana and remember that you can report all bird and animal sightings at the preserve visitor center to help with park research and management.