Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Woodlands Conservancy

After the informative plant identification workshop in April, my interest in botany and plant identification has continued to grow! In fact, I’ve taken it upon myself to create a pocket guide of the common vegetation at Woodlands Trail. It will serve as a useful resource while leading guided hikes, conducting research, and more. Additionally, it will help any future employees and interns, especially those from other areas unfamiliar with Louisiana plants. Once completed, I hope to use the guide as flash cards to study and memorize all of the species.

The guide will only be 3×4 inches and will clip to your belt loop for easy access while in the field. Each species is featured on its own card. The front of the cards consists of multiple pictures including the plant’s leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, etc. The back of the cards contains the scientific name, common name, and details identifying characteristics of the leaves, flowers, fruits, and form. The cards will also be laminated, which is almost necessary considering the unpredictable Louisiana weather.

To get started I decided to tackle the 17 types of vines we know are present at Woodlands Trail. I selected the vines because I am already fairly confident in my ability to identify these species, which makes writing the descriptions significantly easier.

This project has been a fun addition to my regular responsibilities and it gives me an excuse to go out to the trail and photograph the plants. At this point I have completed descriptions for almost all of the 17 species, but some of them are still lacking certain photos. However, this will be an ongoing project, as many of the species are in flower and fruit later in the year.

As activities slow down for the summer I hope to engage one of our interns to assist with this project. I only took on a very small sub sect of the plants present, there are still around 100 herbaceous plants, grasses, and sedges left. One of our other interns will be conducting field research this summer, and I will be creating a guide of all the trees for her to use. I’m really excited to continue working on this and hopefully practice my plant identification skills!

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This entry was posted on May 27, 2017 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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