Lake Martin looking for volunteer docents

Only 20 minutes from downtown Lafayette lies one of the most fascinating ecosystems in South Louisiana. Lake Martin and Cypress Island Preserve has remained a popular spot with locals for alligator and bird watching and for both hiking and getting on the water. During early spring (late February), tens of thousands of egrets, Roseate spoonbills, herons and other birds nest on the swampy perimeters of the lake and stay until summer.

Visiting birds at Lake Martin include Great, snowy and cattle egrets, blue herons, Roseate spoonbills, white ibis, storks, anhingas, warblers, night herons, owls, woodpeckers, blackbirds, ducks, hawks and migrating birds such as orioles, summer tanagers and painted buntings. Spring flowers include Louisiana iris, water hyacinths, trumpet vine, American lotus, swamp mallow, sticktights, and evening primrose and year-round cypress trees are loaded down with the soft Spanish moss.

Approximately 9,500 acres of cypress-tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwood forest habitat is protected.

Lake Martin needs help, however. The Nature Conversancy owns and manages parts of the lake and works hard to educate the public on its bounty plus keep those birds and animals safe. The Conservancy needs volunteer docents to work the Visitor’s Center, clean up the trails and boardwalk and greet and educate visitors. It’s a fun job and it gets volunteers closer to nature.

Katherine King, program manager at Lake Martin, will offer a Volunteer Docent Workshop on Jan. 28 if she receives enough interest. There will be a bird walk, a guest speaker to discuss the Conservancy’s work around the state and a few hours relating the Conservancy’s work at Cypress Island Preserve.

The Preserve’s popular boardwalk was hit hard during last August’s flood. The public restrooms were flooded as well. Both are currently closed while the Conversancy works to restore them, hopefully by February.

For more information on volunteering, email King at kking@tnc.org or call (337) 342-2475.