This month we salute one of Louisiana’s most dedicated native plant educators, Dr. Charles Allen. Dr. Allen is a botanist, plant taxonomist, retired professor, author, and conservationist living near Pitkin, Louisiana adjacent to Kisatchie National Forest and just a short hike from the Ouiska Chitto Creek. He and his wife Susan operate Allen Acres, a bed and breakfast at their home in the forested property (www.allenacresbandb.com). The Allens have spent years developing gardens specifically designed to attract butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. After breakfast, you may roam the paths and enjoy the wild landscape and the insects and birds it supports. Depending on the season, you may wake up at the crack of dawn and observe moths and butterflies spending their night on white sheets hung near the house.
Besides plants, Dr. Allen has a keen interest in Lepidopterans and as scientists are prone to do, he keeps a count of his daily observations and maintains a database. March 25-27 the Allen's will host the 32cnd annual BBBBB (bogs, boletes, baygalls, birds, botanical bliss, big foot, Bates motel bioblitz) sponsored by the Western Gulf Plain Chapter of Wild Ones, a national native plant organization. There are field trips to different habitats nearby, hikes while you document plants and animals you encounter. Did I mention that Dr. Allen has a keen sense of humor? He writes a daily email with detailed information on the plant of the day, a moth or butterfly of the day, and of course, a pun of the day!
Dr. Allen provides a variety of professional ecological and botanical consulting services as well as detailed instruction on plant identification. His courses provide continuing education for experienced plant professionals as well as folks who have limited knowledge of plants. All leave with a deeper understanding of how to identify a plant, where it naturally occurs, and interactions with insects, birds, and other animals. Courses provided on a regular basis include Basic Plant Identification, Graminoid (grasses) Identification and Edible Plants. The classes are limited and may fill up quickly. Check out the special events section in this newsletter for dates of courses. Sign up at email@example.com.