That's the call of a barred owl, according to Rayna Berry, who leads the monthly night hikes at Acadiana Park Nature Station. The big woods are filled with nocturnal mammals, birds, insects and reptiles. "We see just about anything," says Berry. Other inhabitants include possums, raccoons, Luna moths (pictured), owls, flying squirrels, snakes and fireflies that twinkle like small stars under the tree canopy. "The purpose of the night hike is to see what the animals who live here see," Berry says.
She leads groups of nature lovers down the trails and boardwalks, using flashlights to look for night creatures. Mid-hike, Berry sometimes stops and tells everyone to turn off their flashlights to let their eyes adjust to the dark. That's when the weirder part of the woods shows itself; a few types of luminescence come from rotting fungus. "Palmetto glows as it decomposes," Berry explains. "At some times of year it lets off a little bit of steam as well."
Smell, sound and touch also come into play. "A lot of kids say the forest smells fresh, some say it smells yucky," Berry says. Currently, the night is fragrant with the intoxicating perfume of honeysuckle and Chinese privet. Once the group falls quiet the dark erupts with sound ' cicadas scrape a scratchy tune, crickets creak, tree frogs sing and the big owls' haunting call shivers through the treetops. And it wouldn't be Louisiana without the whine of mosquitoes.
Berry recommends bringing insect repellent and a flashlight and wearing long pants and hiking shoes on the trail. And don't touch the poison ivy.
The Acadiana Park Nature Station (1205 E. Alexander St.) hosts night hikes from 8-10 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month. Cost is $2; registration is required and must be made by 3 p.m. on the day of the hike. For more info, call 291-8448.
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
See which events are taking place during INNOV8 Lafayette this Friday, April 25.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lisa Boudreaux come and get your goodies.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
Jefferson Street restaurant and pub debuts during Festival with limited menu.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
See which events are taking place during INNOV8 Lafayette this Thursday.
It’s on, y’all. Fest fIND, our annual Festival International de Louisiana reader contest, is now accepting photo submissions.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
Fashion and music make great bedfellows
Producers, manufacturers, restaurants and chefs host roundtable and tasting
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
The easy one-piece way to style
Comfy feet for long days
Newsy bits for the whole fam
Don't forget: our annual Festival International contest begins Thursday! Win. Cool. Stuff.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.