Darlene Boucher – Coastal Louisiana Photographer

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Darlene Boucher has been documenting her beloved coastal Louisiana for decades. Her photographs evoke the wildness and uncompromising intimacy of the marshes, bays, bayous and barrier islands through a distinctly personal lens. 

“What inspires me about our beautiful state are our rivers, bayous and marshes that thrive with wildlife and I get to observe and photograph them! To be one with nature and to witness the shrimpers, crabbers and fisherman all going about their day is something not everyone gets to see. And the sunrises are unbelievable! I am obsessed. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, an occasional visitor into their wonderful world!” –Darlene Boucher

She has an eye for coastal birds in particular, and a journey through her Flickr account will introduce you to a variety of feathered friends in repose and on the hunt for dinner, nurturing their young and preening in the sun. She enjoys the bounty of the wetlands as well, and her photographs of those that provide for their families both daily and the occasional meal convey the importance of the wetlands to Louisiana’s communities as well as its wildlife. Her sunsets are especially peaceful, and captures the reflective meditation of the end of another day.

Find your favorite image and share it with us here or online!

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EcoSTEAM Summer Camp

Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Project Front Yard hosts five weeks of a summer camp focused on environmental issues and STEAM activities. Eco-STEAM began June 17 and CWPPRA joined campers June 24 through 28. Our Wetland Warriors program included three days of wetland-based activities, outlining important adaptations that help plants and animal species with survival in the dynamic coastal wetlands of Louisiana.

We began on Monday with Wetland Jeopardy because it leads into discussion about wetland ecosystem services and children enjoy the friendly competition. The next day, we focused more specifically on wetland plants and their importance to overall ecosystem health. The Girard Park pond was helpful to discuss adaptations like the bald cypress. Our last day centered on wetland animals, mostly birds, and some of their adaptation for wetlands habitats. Birds are an excellent teaching tool because some can swim, walk, and fly, and beak variability can have some serious implications on species distribution. The campers enjoyed the beak variability activity, which challenged them to use a spoon, a fork, a straw and a toothpick to pick up various shaped snacks like gummy worms, sunflower seeds, goldfish crackers, and mini M&Ms. Our week of wetland instruction concluded with a field trip to Lafayette’s Acadiana Park Nature Station.

This was the Eco-STEAM’s second year and CWPPRA was thrilled to be included again, alongside great community partners including local IT giant CGI, UL Lafayette’s Hilliard Art Museum, the McComb-Veazey Neighborhood Coterie, and Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Office of Community Development, Parks and Recreation Department, and Recycling Division. This program is offered as an affordable summer option for area kindergarten through eighth grade students and we interacted with just over 100 eager new “Wetland Warriors.”