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Butt-breathing Turtles

Butt-breathers by Emma Reid Sure you may think Louisiana has pretty mild winters, but do not underestimate how cold our swamps get with all that cool freshwater coming from up north. Dip your toes in from the kayak and you’ll see. Now, imagine being a turtle in Louisiana or even in Minnesota under ice for…

Autumn photo recap

Autumn photo recap by Ross Baringer In the fall marsh marigolds draw butterflies into the swamps of the Pontchartrain Basin. The red-shouldered blackbirds, who build the most intricate nests in the spring, spend the cooler autumn months gathering in noisy gangs sometimes hundreds of birds strong. The ever-present barred owls take advantage of the receding…

Understanding vs. Fear

Understanding vs. Fear Breaking down our misconceptions about swamps. By Ross Baringer   Swamps have carried a negative connotation and inspired fear for centuries, even in Louisiana where most of our culture is in some way connected to that environment. In literature and film they are often portrayed as dark festering areas full of evil….

Why Are We Afraid Of Spiders?!

Why Are We Afraid of Spiders? by Jeffrey Chitek Being a kayak guide for over 7 years has taught me a lot about people.  You start to see trends in people; what makes them happy, what jokes make for a cheap laugh, how people communicate differently when working as a pair, and most of all, what people fear.  From my experience, what people fear the most, and are most open and vocal about…is spiders.  It became such a dominant and recurring theme in my misadventures that I started to develop my own theories and research on the topic. Its funny to me that something the size of a thumbnail could cause something 10,000 times its size to scream, shake and overturn their kayak.  We once had a lady who upon spotting a spider in her boat, jumped into alligator infested…

Southern Louisiana. ‘Our Natural History in Verse’

Southern Louisiana ‘Our natural history in verse’ by Josh Jack A land shaped in a welter of silt and mud churned from the heart of the continent by the Mighty Mississippi: gouged by rivers, bayous, and canals, and stitched together by the knees of the Bald Cypress. When the floods came they heaped and scoured…

An Easter Egg for Louisiana Bird Lovers

An Easter Egg for Louisiana Bird Lovers by Ross Baringer   Spring is a season long associated with renewal and new life, and the egg has always been a symbol of that season. People have been decorating eggs as part of spring rituals since ancient times, as evidenced by engraved ostrich eggs found in Africa which…

Julie White- Haunted Louisiana swamp by Voodoo Priestess

The Haunted Swamp by a Voodoo Priestess The Voodoo priestess Julie White was more reclusive than most, although no less feared. It was said that White enjoyed trying to predict the demise of surrounding towns as she sat on the porch of her swamp shack, where she spent much of her time. She would also…

Arrowhead (Duck Potato)

Arrowhead — Sagittaria species Arrowhead was a favorite food of many Native North American tribes. All thirty some varieties or species of arrowhead (Sagittaria), members of the Water Plantain Family (Alismatacea), are edible and can be used in the same ways. Arrowhead is also known as duck potato, arrowleaf, swan potato, wapatoo, wappato, katniss, swamp potato, and…

Palmetto Utility and Swamp Fashion

All throughout the swamps of southeastern Louisiana the most memorable understory shrub is the Dwarf Palmetto. Out of 2500 plus varieties of palm in the world, this is one of only a dozen native to the United States. Looking back to the civil war days, during tough times, palmetto hats became commonplace across the south….

Secrets of the Gulf

Nature and Tree Nerd If you’re a nature/tree nerd such as myself then listen up, you may find this story interesting. Back in 2013, a sonar scan of the gulf floor got a strange reading off the coast of Alabama. From the reading, it appeared that several hundred lumpy structures were protruding from the ocean…

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