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Latest news

from LICI


Updated: Jun 20, 2020

May 21, 2020 Covington, La.

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) is very please to announce that Destiny Simon, a senior at Northwestern University of Louisiana, has joined us as an intern for the summer. Destiny's major is biology with a natural science concentration. She is a resident of Abita Springs, La when she's not at the university in Natchitoches, LA.

Destiny is assisting us in forming our non-profit corporation and helping to setup our website, as well as the usual duties of participating in the field with iris rescue and plantings projects.

As the photos show, Destiny received her first taste of the hard work that is required with our projects on May 29, 2020. But she also felt the satisfaction of moving irises from a location where they will be destroyed at some point in the future to a safe environment at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge's boardwalk.

We are looking forward to Destiny working with us this summer. Welcome aboard Destiny!

On May 29th the irises were rescued from a commercial piece of property located just outside of New Orleans where the parking lot was recently extended right up to the edge of a stand of wild I. giganticaerulea species Louisiana irises.

The owner of the property has been very supportive of our removing the irises to a safer and more permanent location.

The plan was for the two person team to remove as many irises as possible and then bring them directly to the Bayou Sauvage refuge for planting.

About three hundred irises were dug up.

After five hours of hot and hard work the irises were in their new home at the Bayou Sauvage refuge.

Photo: LICI intern Destiny Simon is shown on the left and Gary Salathe, founder of LICI, is on the right at the Bayou Sauvage refuge as they finish work. The irises were planted in an area about 75' behind where they are standing. The irises in front of them were planted by volunteers in 2019.

Information on the Bayou Sauvage refuge can be found here:

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Updated: Jun 9, 2020

April 28, 2020 New Orleans, La.

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) now has a YouTube channel containing videos of various Louisiana iris rescue and planting projects.

The videos can be found here:

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April 4, 2020 Mandeville, La.

Starting back in 2017 a small group of volunteers planted the first Louisiana species irises at the Northlake Nature Center. The management there had wholeheartedly agreed to accept

irises that were being rescued from properties where irises were threatened with destruction by development.

More irises were added after the first year when those first few irises did well and bloomed. Then the first "Louisiana Iris Bloom Celebration" was organized by the Nature Center to draw the public out to see this amazing display of blooming wild irises the following year. Well, one thing led to another, and the Northlake Nature Center became home to over 4,000 Louisiana species irises as more and

as more and more iris rescue projects were done and space was needed to find a home for them.

2020's event was to be third "Louisiana Iris Bloom Celebration". Expectations were high that this would be "The Big One" that everyone in the beginning envisioned would happen one day. Although the rules for fighting the COVID-19 virus caused the event to be cancelled, many families needed a place to get out of the house, so with social distancing the rule, huge numbers of people went to the Nature Center during the two week period the irises were in bloom instead of just attending a one day event.

The bloom lived up to everyone's expectations and it was spectacular, although it is very difficult to capture this in photos. It truly was the best display of wild, native Louisiana irises blooming in their natural habitat in Southeast Louisiana that can safely be seen by the public.

Gary Salathe, with the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI), was the driving force behind the project from its inception, but many volunteers played an important role in making it happen by collecting irises from the sites they needed to be rescued from and caring for them until they could be planted at the Northlake Nature Center.

The location where the irises were temporary stored and grown to strengthen up before being replanting was the Greater New Orleans Iris Society's (GNOIS) City Park iris nursery. The GNOIS not only shared their nursery space, but also supported the effort by supplying the plant growing containers, platforms for the growing containers and the potting soil. Members of the GNOIS also volunteered for the two Louisiana Iris Bloom Celebrations at the Nature Center, helping to make them both successful.

Special thanks goes out to the executive director of the Northlake Nature Center, Rue Mcneill and Larry Burch, CEO of the Northlake Nature Center, for taking a chance on the idea in the first place and then being totally supportive of the effort once things got rolling. They deserve credit for the recognition the Northlake Nature Center is now getting as the "Go-to place" to see native Louisiana irises in bloom.

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