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Latest news

from LICI


Updated: Jun 18, 2020

March 14, 2020 Grand Isle, La.

The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana has preserved several small tracts of forest totaling about 41 acres on Grand Isle and has worked with local companies and residents to encourage restoration of former forests and promote environmental education through planting trees with school programs.

Grand Isle has long been recognized as one of the most important stopover sites for neotropical migratory birds flying across the Gulf of Mexico on their annual migration to and from North America. The trees on Grand Isle are often their first resting stop before or after making the five hundred mile flight across the Gulf.

Bryan and Melanie Benigno took these pictures of irises blooming at the Nature Conservancy's Grilletta Track in Grand Isle, La. The Grilletta track is just one of a number of parcels that comprise the Nature Conservancy's Lafitte Woods group of properties

that have some of the last native live oak forests that were once prevalent on the island back in history. These forests are extremely important as a resting stop for birds migrating north in the spring because the island is the first land they come to after their long journey flying across the Gulf of Mexico.

The number of birding people that come to Grand Isle during their annual bird migration celebration during the month of April is beginning to outnumber the number of people that come for their world famous Tarpon Rodeo. Many of the visitors end up walking the trails in the Nature Conservancy's properties.

There is a walking trail on the property that goes through a freshwater bog, which is above sea level and not affected by the tide. Bryan and Melanie like to hike the trail and they do so often. They ran across these blooming Louisiana irises which is the I. giganticaerulea species of iris.

Photos: Louisiana irises blooming on The Nature Conservancy's Grilletta Track in Grand Isle, La. on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

More information on The Nature Conservancy's Grand Isle properties can be found here:

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March 12, 2020 Denham Springs, LA

Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) member, Gary Salathe, was invited to do a presentation by Southeastern University of Louisiana at their Livingston Parish Center in Denham Springs, LA as part of their after hours Explore Nature Family Program. The event was held on March 12th and was open to the public. His topic was on the Louisiana iris.

One half of Gary's presentation was on the cultivar Louisiana irises that grow in home gardens and how they are all descendants of the five wild Louisiana species irises, four of which are native to Louisiana. The other half was on projects organized by the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) to rescue wild irises that are threatened with destruction and to relocate them into natural areas within refuges and nature preserves.

The gathering was the very last public event held at the university before it was shut down due to the threat of the Covid 19 virus. The lights were literally turned off and the doors locked for the last time as soon as the presentation was finished.

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Updated: Jun 9, 2020

March 6, 2020 New Orleans, La.

The 2020 "See Irises In The Swamp" brochures are now available at locations around the New Orleans area. The last places to receive the brochures will have them and be ready to give them out by the end of next week. They are being given out free of charge.

The brochure lists five area swamp boardwalks open to the public that have Louisiana species irises that can be seen blooming in their natural habitat from the safety of a raised boardwalk. It was produced through the support of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which has two of its refuges shown in the brochure.

The brochure was produced in the hope that families will go out to the boardwalks to see native Louisiana irises blooming in their natural habitat from the safety of the raised boardwalks. Gary Salathe, with LICI, says, "It is our belief that 'showing' is a lot more effective than 'telling' and anyone that has a chance to stand on one of these boardwalks to see first hand these beautiful creations of nature blooming in all their glory will understand the importance of preserving them and the habitat they grow in."

The brochure is available at area wildlife refuge visitor centers, State of Louisiana tourist visitor centers in southeast Louisiana and various outdoor oriented businesses in and around New Orleans.

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