November 4, 2020 New Orleans, La.
The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) oranizeda multi-group volunteer day at the USF&WS' Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans east. The volunteers came from numerous groups, including The Friends of the Refuge, Limitless Vistas, Common Ground Relief, the Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans and individuals that have signed up to be on the LICI volunteer list. Over 1,300 I. giganticaerulea Louisiana species irises were added to the 2,500 already growing there from three years of plantings at the refuge's Ridgetrail boardwalk.
Photo: The irises arriving at the refuge for the planting event. The 1,000 irises were dug up from the LICI iris holding area by two volunteers the day before ended up not being enough. Later in the morning a group had to spit off from the planting and rush over to the iris holding area to dig up 300 more to finish the day’s project.
The project started three years ago to reintroduce native irises back into the refuge after Hurricane Katrina killed off the last of what was once hundreds of acres of irises back in the 1920’s.
Photo: The group begins work using a step ladder to get down from the boardwalk.
In addition to the Louisiana irises being planted, Common Ground Relief, a local non-profit involved in marsh restoration, donated and planted twenty cypress trees.
Photo: Common Ground Relief volunteers planting cypress trees.
The volunteers were so focused and worked so hard that they ran out of irises after only 1 1/2 hours of work. Work continued on the other side of the viewing platform after a small group of volunteers rushed back to the LICI iris holding area to get more irises,.
Photo: Volunteers working planting irises. The Executive Director of Common Ground Relief, Charlotte Clark, can be seen in the foreground.