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September

Ouchley
K. Ouchley
/

In Louisiana, September is the season of winding down, of transition to better times. It is as if all things in the natural world are fed up with the necessary struggles to carry on in the heat and humidity of our subtropical summers. Within the trunks of white oaks and black hickories, the growth rings of summer wood form a defined edge. The trees stop growing. Buckeyes have long since lost their leaves and those of black gum flame scarlet in protest. Each fleeting breeze that follows an afternoon shower convinces a few of the bold leaves to jump first from the treetops and not wait for a bona fide autumn zephyr.

Kelby was a biologist and manager of National Wildlife Refuges for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 30 years. He has worked with alligators in gulf coast marshes and Canada geese on Hudson Bay tundra. His most recent project was working with his brother Keith of the Louisiana Nature Conservancy on the largest floodplain restoration project in the Mississippi River Basin at the Mollicy Unit of the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, reconnecting twenty-five square miles of former floodplain forest back to the Ouachita River.
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