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.
newsy bits for the fam
Festival International de Louisiane is right around the corner — April 23-27 — and IND Monthly’s second annual Fest fIND contest is along for the ride.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
Georgia-based fried chicken chain would go up against Raising Cane’s, Chick-fil-A and others (like the Popeyes near its proposed location).
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The perfect color for Easter Sunday
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
A Scott businessman has pleaded guilty to failing to report a conspiracy to award Opelousas Housing Authority construction bids to his company.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
Egg-citing ideas for sharing at family gatherings
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, April 15, 2014:
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Court-appointed examiner says Lafayette businessman was “effectively on both sides” of transactions, opens door for legal action against him.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette-based insurance broker/risk management group bought by Florida firm for undisclosed sum; principals Landry and Harris continue to run local operations.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
The life and legacy of Dave Perkins will be commemorated with a special INDesign Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2014 event on April 24.
Easy crafts in time for Easter
The Cane Fire Film Series presents “The Great Flood” on Monday, April 14, at the AcA.