Miss A Columnist

A lawyer by education, a yoga and fitness instructor by choice, and a volunteer because of passion, Mary Dawn Pugh has called New Orleans home for over a decade. She is the wife of an engineer and the mother of two boisterous little boys. When not chasing them, you may find her repainting or reupholstering furniture, playing tennis, doing yoga, or reading voraciously. She is excited to have joined a Mardi Gras krewe this year, and enjoys being a member of the Junior League of New Orleans and St. Charles Presbyterian Church.

Visit And Volunteer At Jean Lafitte Park And Barataria Preserve

Barataria's Natural Beauty

Barataria’s Natural Beauty (Photo Credit: Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Facebook)

What’s a bored New Orleanian to do on a wonderful fall morning in Southeastern Louisiana? How about explore 23,000 acres of Louisiana wetland? If that sounds far-fetched, then you’ve never been to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and, specifically, its Barataria Preserve. Just a few minutes from downtown New Orleans, you can explore bayous, swamps and forests, and see alligators, nutria and over 200 species of birds! Boardwalks and dirt trails wind through the beautiful landscape, canoes and kayaks can tackle the area waterways, and visitors can even enjoy a cell-phone tour.

The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park encompasses five additional sites scattered throughout South Louisiana, ranging from bayous to prairies.

Not only does this National Park Service site offer incredible sights and hikes, but also many other interesting and helpful events. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries sponsors boating safety classes. You can take a free Wetlands Walk at 10 a.m. every Wednesday-Sunday for a guided walk through wild Louisiana swamp and marsh. Also, on Wednesdays-Sundays you can attend a free Ranger’s Choice talk at 2 p.m. Sherree Hobgood, a freelance photographer whose passion for nature is evident in her work, has a special exhibit showing between September 21-November 30.

For a fun and educational day that you can also feel good about, join the Preserve for National Public Lands Day from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 28. Bring your work gloves and sunscreen and get ready for a morning of trail maintenance and litter cleanup. It’s incredible what volunteers do! Over 170,000 people are expected to volunteer at over 2,000 sites nationwide! To get a perspective of what you’ll be a part of, consider this: volunteers last year removed 500 tons of trash, which weighs slightly more than a 747. They removed 23,000 pounds of invasive plant species, which is about the weight of a school bus. Volunteers built and maintained 1,500 miles of trails, approximately the distance between San Diego, California and Vancouver, British Columbia. They also planted 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants.

When you’re volunteering at the Preserve, keep in mind the best piece of advice – don’t harass the alligators!

Plenty of Wildlife at the Preserve!

Plenty of Wildlife at the Preserve! Photo Credit: Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Facebook)

WHEN: Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 10a.m.: National Public Lands Cleanup Day at the Barataria Preserve

Barataria Preserve
6588 Barataria Blvd
Marrero, LA 70072
Ph. 504-689-3690

Wednesday – Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Trail accessible: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

TICKETS: Admission is free.

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