Dr. Kauffman, who also serves as President of the Northeast chapter, announced the final results of the LMNA Scavenger Hunt (View LMNA Scavenger Hunt on iNaturalist.org). This was possibly the first time ever that the iNaturalist Citizen Science platform has been used for a scavenger hunt and it proved highly suitable! It was a pretty good list overall with a very useful addition of a wild-card Anhinga, but the Chanterelles aren't out yet. The vast majority of the contributions were from the South with some from the Northwest. The overall winner was Karen Pinsonat from GBR with 29 observations from the target list, 22 of them were confirmed research grade before the deadline, so that was fantastic!
Secondly, LMNA Communications Officer, Charles Paxton wrapped up the annual photo and video contests and announced the winners, showing off the fine photographs that won by popular vote. This year there were 34 entries altogether, 21 amateur and 12 professional, in five categories: 8 each in Artistic and Wildlife, 9 in Nature in close-up, 7 in Habitat, and 2 in Naturalist. Together with the exemplars this makes a total of 39 images that our chapters will be able to use to help promote our group and its activities, so thank you all who have contributed images and also by voting. The images will appear here in a gallery and will be accessible from an LMNA image archive. There were also three video entries in two categories, 2 in Critters in action and 1 in Habitat. These excellent entries were the first ever for us because this is the first year for an LMNA video contest. The high interest in the Artistic category suggest that there is definitely scope for an Original Art contest too!
On behalf of the LMNA, Dr. Kauffman then congratulated the 2021 Caroline Dormon Outstanding Louisiana Master Naturalist of the Year, Bill Fontenot. Described by Dr. Thomas as "an all-round excellent Human being", Bill features in the above-linked video wearing his prize LMNA shirt. Dr. Thomas delivered his shirt and engraved trophy a few days before the award ceremony. In his forthright and moving award acceptance speech, Fontenot describes key points in his life and career along with his connection to Caroline Dormon, answers questions from the audience and comes across as a modest and down-to-Earth, but highly impactful Restoration Ecologist with a long and illustrious career as Conservation Biologist and environmental educator/mentor, determined to do his individual best to confront the very depressing state of eco-crisis that confronted him as a journalist. His wife encouraged him to channel his concern and anger at the loss of biodiversity into conservation action. This he has done very effectively, impacting thousands of lives for well over twenty years! Amongst other interesting statements he praises young environmental activist Greta Thurnberg for the courage of confronting truth to power, echoing his sentiment, she said in an interview recently that the best remedy for anger and despair is individual action. So true! It is individuals like Bill, that influence positive changes that benefit us all.
Thank you, Bill. The LMNA is grateful for his interesting and inspiring speech and long years of great service. If you need to hire a consultant restoration ecologist, look up the Nature Dude on Facebook!
Information about the Louisiana Certified Habitat program, his book and many valuable native plants are available at reasonable prices via the Acadiana Native Plant Project website https://greauxnative.org/
Thank you all. As a group we overcame many of the limitations imposed by this pandemic by using information technology to get together online. I thought the socials were especially fun and must praise Janie Braud for her good efforts in that regard!