Field Trips

Swamp Tour

Sunday, April 6, 2014; Time: 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Limit: 12
Activity Level: Easy
Cost: $80.00

Would you like to get up close and personal with an alligator?  This tour will take you amongst age-old cypress swamp and is the perfect venue for close encounters with all types of Louisiana wildlife including alligators, turtles, snakes, nutria, egrets, hawks, herons and more.  Experience the bayou country with guides who will share the wetlands’ legends and lore, and learn what is being done to rebuild and protect this disappearing ecosystem. 

Barrier Island Tour

Sunday, April 6, 2014; Time: 6:00 am – 5:30 pm

Limit: 10
Activity Level: Easy
Cost: $55

When you think of Louisiana, islands do not usually come to mind.  However, Louisiana is home to several chains of barrier islands located off the state’s coastline.  These barrier islands function as the first line of defense from storms in the Gulf of Mexico that threaten Louisiana’s coastal communities.  During such events, barrier islands reduce wind and wave action and absorb storm energy, greatly reducing the storm’s impact to the mainland.  Barrier islands are also important to Louisiana’s natural resources, providing marine habitat for commercially important fish species and terrestrial habitat for birds, sea turtles and other wildlife.  Unfortunately, the barrier islands are eroding at an extreme rate - up to 100 feet of shoreline per year – due to salt water intrusion, storm surge, tidal and wave actions and sediment transport.  Because the barrier islands are so important for humans and wildlife, funding opportunities for coastal restoration projects has been a main focus of the state. On this field trip you will see some of Louisiana’s barrier islands, the birds and other wildlife that utilize these areas, and some of the restoration work done to help this unique habitat.

Grand Isle Birding Excursion (Sold Out)

Please contact Pat Leighty (703.908.1803; pat_leighty@natureserve.org) to determine availability

Sunday, April 6, 2014; Time: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm

Limit: 10
Activity Level: Easy
Cost: $57 includes State Park Entrance Fee

Grand Isle is one of several barrier islands located off the coast of Louisiana.  It is the only easily accessible and inhabited barrier island, providing visitors with more than 280 species of fish and year round fishing, and approximately 300 bird species for the active birder.  Grand Isle was once a great expanse of oak forest, but today only ten percent of the original habitat remains.  However, these few remnants provide a prime stopover area for songbirds migrating 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico during spring and fall migration events.  During these migration events, thousands of birds, representing more than 100 species can be seen on the island.  This time of year is also when birders may expect weather dependent “fall outs”.  During “fall outs”, birds literally fall out of the sky from exhaustion and low energy levels.  These birds take refuge on Grand Isle, resting and refueling before continuing their flight.  In addition to songbirds in maritime forest, Grand Isle’s beaches and marshes provide habitat for a variety of birds including gulls, terns, shorebirds and wading birds.  Due to the location and time of year, rare species are always a possibility! 

Sandy Hollow Wildlife Management Area

Sunday, April 6, 2014 Time: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Limit: 14
Activity Level: Easy
Cost: $55

Sandy Hollow Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is just over 4,000 acres, with approximately 3,500 acres owned and managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  This WMA is an eastern upland longleaf pine forest with sandy soil and rolling hill terrain.  Only one to five percent of the original two million acres of this community type remains – now restricted to only three parishes in southeast Louisiana.  This unique habitat is home to numerous plant and animal species tracked by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program (LNHP), including gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus).  The gopher tortoise is federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and in Louisiana, resides within the eastern upland longleaf pine forest remnants.  Intensive habitat management by LDWF staff, along with this ecosystem’s sandy soil and highly diverse understory, provides gopher tortoises on Sandy Hollow optimum conditions for recruitment and survival.  Come spend a day in the forest and learn about Louisiana’s efforts in gopher tortoise conservation.  LNHP staff will have a tortoise in hand and a burrow camera in tow, so seeing a tortoise is a definite!

Lake Ramsey WMA & Preserve

Sunday, April 6, 2014 Time: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Limit: 12
Activity Level: Easy
Cost: $55

Lake Ramsey Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is approximately 800 acres of high quality longleaf pine flatwood savannah owned and managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).  In Louisiana, only one to five percent of this once historically dominant habitat remains.  Longleaf pine savannas are among the most diverse and most threatened habitats in North America.  Intensive management and a regular fire regime at Lake Ramsey perpetuates a premier native ground-cover that supports over fifteen plant species considered “Species of Conservation Concern” in Louisiana.  In recent years, the Nature Conservancy purchased an additional 583 acres of land adjacent to Lake Ramsay, enlarging the area now under conservation management.  Longleaf pine flatwood savannah is not the only community type found on the Lake Ramsey complex.  This area maintains small stream forest and bayhead swamp natural communities and is bordered by the Tchefuncte River and its tributaries – a designated Scenic River by LDWF.  This is sure to be a day of botanizing that will not be forgotten!

On Your Own

Of course, there is much more happening in New Orleans. This link will take you to one starting point for developing your own tour.

http://www.tourneworleans.com/