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Updated: Jun 9, 2020

June 5, 2020 New Orleans, La.

On the morning of Friday, June 5th volunteers set up an iris holding area in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans. The lot is owned by Common Ground Relief, a local non-profit engaged in wetland's restoration projects using volunteers from around the country. The lot is next door to Common Ground Relief's wetland plant nursery. They have offered the site to LICI to propagate Louisiana irises for iris restoration projects.

Platforms were created by using cinder blocks and used wooden pallets. The raised platforms will make weeding the containers much easier. Each waterproof black container will act as a mini-swamp to keep the irises in water saturated soil.

The iris holding area is being set up to temporarily hold irises that will be dug up on LICI's iris rescue projects or from donations of irises from the public. The LICI locates wild species irises that are threatened with destruction from properties that are going to be developed. They then organize volunteers to go in and dig the irises up. The irises will then be planted in these containers at this holding area. Since many of the irises came from a habitat that is not the best they are stressed and digging them up further weakens the plants. By having them spend a few months in these containers filled with rich soil and being kept moist they we strengthen up before being moved into their permanent home in area refuges.

The irises shown being planted were dug up the day before in Mandeville, La. by other volunteers from a homeowner's yard. The homeowner had dug up a few wild irises from the swamp near his neighborhood years ago and now they needed to be thinned out. The Louisiana irises were identified as the I. giganticaerulea species iris when they bloomed in March. They will spend the next few months growing in the containers at the iris holding area until they are planted in the area's swamps and marshes. This batch of irises is slated to be used at the Town of Jean Lafitte's wetlands boardwalk and the boardwalk at the Joyce Wildlife refuge, which is located south of Ponchatoula, La.

The volunteers that set up LICI's iris holding area were residents of New Orleans from different walks of life that wanted to help out. If you would like to help on LICI's projects, email your contact information to

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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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The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative, Inc. is a Louisiana non-profit corporation that has been formed for the purpose of organizing Louisiana iris rescue and planting projects involving wild, native irises threatened with destruction.