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New Orleans will always have a place in my heart after this trip. This city is alive with music, culture and cuisine. But this trip showed me there was more to NOLA than Bourbon Street. Places like the lower 9th ward are still broken from hurricane Katrina. The levee tour displayed failures in the system that destroyed areas like the lower 9th. We toured the French Quarter and enjoyed the cuisine and music. 

The woodland band transects were one of my favorite parts of this trip. Going through the elderberry and rad maple in search of invasive species was the primary goal of the transects. We did this to compare transects from previous years. We saw various flora and fauna between the woodland park and Jean Lafitte National Park from armadillos, snakes and alligators to willow oak and blackberry. The wildlife was impressive and intriguing to see, it is very different from Southern California’s ecosystems.  

  We got a chance to help the food desert situation in the more remote and underprivileged parts of Louisiana. Through out the trip we had three days to help do gardening for local gardens. We went to Capstone gardens and set up aquaponic systems. The next location we went to was Carols house set up a seasonal garden for the local community. After that we did gardening at Grow Dat a youth group farm to teach skills and leadership to its participants.  



Today was the end of the trip, after data entry and a good speech from Dr. Andersons we went to see the Easter parade in the French Quarter. We also took water samples from the Mississippi River to look for microplastics. 



Field work! Today we were out in the woodland forest doing more data collection. We saw some cool local animals and birds like armadillos and cardinals.



We went to a non profit organization called Grow Dat and helped around the farm for a couple of hours which was another opportunity so see how a farm functions. Later we when to a jazz orchestra which was really extraordinary music. 



Today we fed alligators and helped a environmental and historical activist restore a gazebo. Next we went the Chinese lights festival and saw light art in a botanical garden, there we also saw plate spinners, jugglers and the art of   face changing.We also we to a zydeco concert which was excellent.



Yesterday we made a garden from scratch. We tilled the land and planted the seeds to help a food desert in Louisiana. The field after we finished below.

  The field before we started. 


Today we went to Capstone Gardens, I mowed a lawn for a goat feed, pulled weeds and learned the process and set up of aqua-culture. This process was unique and complex but at the same time it all mad sense the fish feed the plants and the plants feed the fish.



Research day number two was today, we got a botany lesion today which was very interesting. We learned about various species identification due to some confusion yesterday which helped groups go much quicker today. 



Today was a great day we learned new methods and plant identification. The methods today included setting up 100 meter band transects. These consisted of Bush whacking through the brush laying out the 100 meter tape and using a 2 meter pvc pipe to delineate a 2 meter by 2 meter square band and identifying all species in the square. The first 2 bands are done as 1 by 2 meter band 1 meter down the tape by 2 meters wide. The transects numbers were written as the higher of the point (if it were point 0-1 it would be recorded as 1).

Than we looked at multiple aspects such as leaf and wood litter. Percent blackberry, ferns, native vegetation canopy and exotic vegetation canopy. We also recorded gps waypoints off of a Bad Elf gps attached to an iPod at 0, 50, and 100. We also took pictures showing the vegetation at these locations looking towards the 100 mark and out past in to vegetation. We also took plant samples for plant identification.


 Patrick and I using spicy food to keep the bugs away!


Today we spent time cooking at the New Orleans School of Cooking learning to cook the Creole and Cajun style of food. Than we explored the French quarter and enjoy music and food.