Skylar Lane

A quarter-mile, dead-end road in a town in the Southern Coastal Plains, north of Lake Pontchartrain

We moved back to Louisiana at the end of May 2020, to a place we'd visited but never lived before. We went from the giant, open, wild country of Wallowa County, Oregon to this little quarter-mile dead-end street in a semi-suburban area of Ponchatoula, a town just north of Lake Pontchartrain.

I was disappointed at first, honestly, but once I started daily morning walks up and down that little street, I started noticing more and more. I saw new birds I'd never seen before, new plants, bugs... this little street had a ton of life if I just took the time to notice. My naturalist skills were still in their infancy, and my iNaturalist skills even moreso, and this became a good proving ground for the "everyday" observations that are now a cornerstone of my naturalist practice.

In just over a year, I ended up with 102 bird species, including a Parish record for Brown Booby. I found 120 plant species and fell in love with Black Elderberry and sedges, some of my favorite plants now.

I also started picking up trash during my walks, and probably collected a couple hundred pounds of stuff from the ditch running along the street over that same year.

It was a great little place to be for a while, and taught me a lot about how rich the natural world really is, and how specialized some things are. They just need the tiniest spaces to thrive if we'll let them.

Last updated June 5, 2024