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The Last Louisiana Iris Rescue for 2021

December 16, 2021 Laplace, La.

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) completed a Louisiana iris rescue using volunteers from the University of Alabama - Huntsville yesterday, Wednesday, December 15th. Common Ground Relief, a New Orleans non-profit, is hosting the students for a week of service activities in the area. LICI volunteers from Lafourche Parish also participated in the iris rescue. Other LICI volunteers clean up the irises and put them into short-term storage at the LICI iris holding area in New Orleans that afternoon.

Charlotte Clarke, Executive Director of Common Ground Relief is seen giving the opening remarks to the volunteers.

Some of the irises we be planted at the Lockport, La. Wetlands Elevated Boardwalk within the next couple of weeks. Other locations where the irises will be planted are the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans and at the Nature Conservancy's Gilletta Tract in the Lafitte Woods Nature Preserve on Grand Isle, La.

The volunteers begin work digging up irises.

The group rescued approximately 1,500 I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana iris that were growing on a property, which is located west of New Orleans, is zoned for commercial development and is for sale. The owner has encouraged LICI to get the irises relocated. LICI is also working with the lease-holder of this portion of the property who has a fireworks stand on-site to get irises out of areas where he will be expanding his parking area.

Natalie "Chip" Stone, Volunteer Relations Coordinator with the international non-profit All Hands and Hearts, is shown helping sort through the irises. Natalie is interested in her group working with LICI on iris restoration projects. She took the opportunity of the iris rescue being close to her local headquarters for their Hurricane Ida relief work to come out and meet the group and see one of LICI's projects in progress. She ended up spending the entire morning helping out.

Since the irises that were rescued are in the growth mode for the winter they can be planted directly back into the swamp in one of LICI's iris restoration project, instead of spending time strengthening up at their iris holding area.

"This was the first out-of-state college student volunteer event we have done with Common Ground Relief since the pandemic started in early 2020. I have to say, it felt really good to be back in the game with volunteers like this!" said Gary Salathe, organizer of the event for LICI.

The volunteers that participated in the December 15, 2021 iris rescue.



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