The Briarwood Nature Preserve held its 15th annual Spring Picnic Fundraiser on the grounds of the 212 acre nature preserve Saturday, April 15. A crowd of about 150 supporters and friends of the preserve enjoyed a catered picnic lunch, door prizes and walking tours. Members of the Future Farmers of America from NCHS, Lakeview, and Winnfield High School, assisted at the day’s events.
This year’s event featured walking tours focusing on specific aspects of nature. There were walks focusing on plants and birds. For the adventurous and herpetology minded, there was also a walk dedicated to finding examples of the snakes native to the area.
Several certified Louisiana Master Naturalists were also on hand to take part in the National Geographic “Bio-Blitz” program. In the program, volunteers use an “I-Nature” app to take geotagged photos of plants and animals. The plants and animals in the photos are identified by experts and are added to a worldwide database of biodiversity.
The Briarwood Nature Preserve, opened in 1972, is the birthplace and childhood home of famed naturalist Caroline Dormon. Dorman was a naturalist, author and the first woman hired by the US Forest Service. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Kisatchie National Forest. The Briarwood Nature Preserve serves to carry on her legacy of preservation and education about the natural world.
The preserve also holds the distinction of hosting some of the few surviving specimens of the endangered tree Torreya Taxifolia. The tree originally grew in an area on the Florida/Georgia border. Caroline Dormon brought some seedlings home from a trip to Florida in the 1930’s. The trees disappeared from their original habitat and now only exist in a few places. According to Louisiana Scholars’ College professor, Dr. Betsy Cochran, the Briarwood Nature Preserve boasts the largest number of Torreya Taxifolia trees in the United States.
From wildflowers to birds, animals and miles of walking trails, there is indeed something for everyone at the Briarwood Nature Preserve. The Natchitoches Parish Journal also wishes to congratulate Lakeview and NSU alumna, Ms. Bayli Quick, on her upcoming wedding which will be held at the preserve’s grounds.