Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Woodlands Conservancy- Carly

This past weekend, my organization very graciously paid for me to attend an intensive plant identification workshop. Dr. Charles Allen, one of the top botanists in the south, hosted the workshop at Woodlands Trail and Park.  Dr. Charles M. Allen is a botanist, plant taxonomist, retired professor, noted author, and conservationist.  He received his B.A. from LSU in Forestry, his M.A. from LSU in Botany and his PhD from Southwestern in Biology.

Essentially, he knows more information about plants than I ever fathomed existed. Friday and Saturday consisted of exhaustive identification. We couldn’t go more than two steps without him pointing out at least one new specimen! Sunday focused on what is edible in the forest. By the end of the weekend I had recorded almost a hundred species, and that doesn’t even include the ones that I missed!


I managed to capture a picture of this speedy Long Tailed Skipper butterfly while it stopped for a tasty nectar snack.

Researchers and other professionals have taken inventory of the tree species present at Woodlands Trail. However, far less attention has been given to the variety of shrubs, vines, flowers, and other understory vegetation. Woodlands recently received a grant for the purchase of understory plants, so this workshop presented a great opportunity to create a more comprehensive catalog of our understory floras. With this knowledge, we can be sure to plant species that are already present in the forest and not introduce new species that may disrupt the ecosystem. For each understory plant I recorded the GPS location, took a photo, collected a specimen, and furiously attempted to write down all of the information Dr. Allen said. Our executive director ordered a plant press in order to dry and display the specimen we collected.

As interesting as it was to learn about the various plants present at our site, I have to admit I kept getting distracted by all the cool insects hanging (and flying and running) around! I was even inspired to start an insect inventory list, which currently consists mostly of all the awesome spiders I’ve seen.


This Golden Orb Weaver was almost the size of my face!

Earlier in October I was awarded the Restore America’s Estuaries Summit Scholarship, which will cover full cost of admission to the conference in December. Research I conducted in conjunction with Woodlands will be on display during the summit poster session, so I am very excited to be able to attend and discuss my work.



3 comments on “Field Report: Woodlands Conservancy- Carly

  1. Kristen
    December 18, 2016

    I have been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours
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  2. Emery Graham
    November 29, 2016

    Interesting post. Sounds like you’re getting a lot of practical experience in your area of interest. Be sure to do a blog on your research and your conference experience.

    • woodlandsconservancyvista
      November 29, 2016

      Thanks for the feedback Emery, already started writing it!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on November 29, 2016 by in VISTA Field Reports.



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