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Archive for August, 2009

Here are a few picturesque images of Bryan Park. To view a slideshow of how the park came to develop trails please visit the

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There are lots of activities to partake in Bryan Park. Here are a few images of enjoyable times in the park so far. We are looking forward to when the park opens to the public and many can enjoy these fun activities.

Jaymes and Leigh Anne picnicking on the new picnic tables.

Bill canoes through a duck habitat in the pond.

Daniel and Cooper paddle out in the canoe around the pond.

Jeff Bryan grills cheeseburgers by the pond.

Cooper and Daniel and enjoy the swing they built together.

Shelby and Jen walk the newly cut trails around Bryan Park.

From left to right: Cooper, Kyle, Parrish and Leigh Anne relax on the floating dock which was built by Jeff Bryan.

Ali Schmierer, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer

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Fabrice Tchouba is pictured holding the official Land and Water Conservation sign for Bryan Park. This sign was presented to Bill Bryan and Fabrice after administrative meetings concerning Bryan Park in Baton Rouge. This story was run in the Ruston Daily Reader in August.

The sign looks perfect in the entrance.

Bryan Park receives an brand new entrance gate that adds to the newly graveled road! It’s all coming together, easy accessible road, an entrance as well as new signage!

Ali Schmierer, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer

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As the summer comes to a close, Bryan park celebrates the hard workers and volunteers that helped develop the park. WIA (Workforce Investment Act) employees were Downsville locals and high school students who were given “green jobs” to work on the park over the summer. Jeff Bryan (aka Boss Man) led the group in creating trails through macheting and bush hogging. It was a lot of team work and physical labor but it shows as Bryan Park has begun to develop.

Pictured above are the WIA employees with their certificates of completion: Kyle Hicks, Leigh Anne Hooper, D’Marcus Griffin, and Parrish Brasher.

Byran park also celebrated the AmeriCorps Vista volunteers who were local university students from Louisiana Tech and Grambling University. The AmeriCorp Vista volunteers that finished their service are Jennifer Reed and Fabrice Tchouba. Jennifer kept up the blog and did research of Downsville’s history. Fabrice organized the accounting for the park. The six Louisiana Tech architecture students are continuing to work on completing the pavilion, the largest addition to the park. Bryan Park will be the first park in Louisiana with “green” waterless composting restrooms. It’s exciting that a park in a small community is so ahead of the times!

Pictured above with their AmeriCorp certificates is Victoria Christenson, Scott Dill, Jaymes Hanus, Brandon Mosely, David Suhren.

Pictured above is Bill Bryan making a speech at Bryan Park’s End of the Summer Celebration.

Ali Schmierer, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer

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Week 10

These are the journals compiled for the final week of service at Bryan Park, August 3 – August 7.

This summer was fun, challenging and long. Even though I didn’t like to work I did it anyways. I’ll miss everyone bunches! This final weekwas fairly easy and memorable.

Parrish Brasher, WIA Summer Youth

I have alrite summer even though it was hard, but I like the people I worked with. I enjoyed “killing that bear”* but it was bad times when I caught red bugs. It awas a great summer and I wouldn’t change it.

D’Marcus Griffin, WIA Summer Youth

Service is the gateway to success.

Fabrice Tchouba, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer

*”Kill the Bear” refers to a motivational expression used often during a rough workday in the park. To kill the bear is to meet every challenge head-on and to keep working until the task is complete.

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Among the diverse plant life through the park is an equally diverse collection of wild mushrooms.

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of certain fungiā€”the equivalent of the apple, not of the tree. Fungi, including those which produce mushrooms, are not plants; they are related to molds, mildews, rusts, smuts, and yeasts, and are classified in the Fungi Kingdom. (…) The slang term “toadstool” is best avoided, as it is ambiguous: to some people, “toadstool” implies a poisonous mushroom; to others, it means a mushroom with an umbrella-like shape.

source: http://americanmushrooms.com/basics.htm

They are identified several ways – where/when they grow; the shape, form (scales, wrinkled or warty textures), color and size of the cap; the stem size; etc. David Fischer’s American Mushrooms site notes that mushroom identification requires massive attention to detail. Considering how many types of mushrooms there are out there and, of course, the potential to mistake a poisonous one for an edible one, it’s important to have some experience in the field before one delves right into trying to cook wild mushrooms.

The best ways to go about learning how to identify mushrooms and then actually getting out there include –
Taking a class (many universities, as part of the biology or even forestry departments, offer mycology classes).
Buying an identification field book (the more vivid the pictures and indepth the details, the more helpful)
Practice, practice, practice! (the more you go out and attempt to label mushrooms, the more you’ll learn – experience is key)

AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer and site supervisor Shelby McDuff went around the park, identifying some of the native species of mushrooms. It’s an ongoing process, since photographs need to be sifted through and compared to field guide images carefully for proper identification. Here are images of the ones that have been successfully identified:


^ Blac-Footed Marasmius


^ Angels Wings

More coming soon…

Jennifer Reed, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer

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Animal Tracks

Yesterday, Kyle, Leigh-Anne and I were walking up and down the trails with clippers (or “loppers,” they are sometimes called around here) to trim the sides of the trails and pick up debris.

As we made our way around the pond, Kyle stopped for a moment. Something in the dirt caught his eye. I started to ask him what was the matter, when suddenly he muttered, “Pigs.”

“Pigs?” I replied, looking around.

“Yeah,” he answered, leaning in to get a closer look at what I now noticed was a cluster of tracks. “At least one of them is around here. See these tracks? That ain’t a deer, I can tell you that.” He added, pointing to an area that looked disturbed beside the tracks, “See that? They root around and dig up plants and stuff. A whole bunch of them could tear up acres in a single night.”


picture from http://www.bear-tracker.com/wildpig.html
copyright Kim A. Cabrera

We continued along the trail, and before long I was able to point out more wild hog tracks or areas where they dug up for roots, to a degree.

Kyle also pointed out coyote pawprints, which looked like this…


picture from http://www.bear-tracker.com/coyote.html
copyright Kim A. Cabrera

… and various types of deer tracks.


deer tracks through mud near Bryan Park
picture taken by Shelby McDuff, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer

The difference between a doe, buck, and fawn is actually very noticeable. For one, a buck has extra extentions behind his hooves. And obviously, fawn tracks are simple to identify, because they are so small.

Though around here the practice is usually to shoot wild hogs because of the damage they do to property. Or to thin out deer populations during hunting season (which is one the way). However, the animals are all protected, as long as they still roam Bryan Park.

Jennifer Reed, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer

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