Louisiana has a rich, colorful historical background. Spanish explorers were early settlers. The land was later claimed by the French in 1682. Louisiana became a French crown colony in 1731 but was ceded to Spain in 1763 after the French and Indian Wars. Louisiana reverted to France in 1800 and was sold to the U.S. in 1803. The southern part, known as the territory of Orleans, became the state of Louisiana in 1812.
Forests in Louisiana consist of hardwood forests, cypress and tupelo swamps. Important commercial trees are beech, eastern red cedar, and black walnut. Orchids and hyacinths are the state’s wildflowers. Spanish moss grows profusely in the southern regions.
Louisiana’s varied habitats- tidal marshes, swamps woodlands, and prairies- offer a diversity of fauna. Deer, squirrel, rabbit, bear, muskrat, mink, bobcat and skunk are commonly found in the state. Bird population includes the quail, turkey, woodcock, and various waterfowl.
Threatened animal species include the Louisiana black bear, bald eagle, Alabama heelsplitter, and redcockaded woodpecker.
Monroe Transit has been awarded for its green initiatives in pollution prevention, taking steps to decrease the amount of emissions produced by city vehicles by introduction of biodiesel fuel as an option, purchasing buses with particulate filters, purchasing hybrid vehicles with low emission vehicle (LEV) rating, and promoting ridership to decrease the number of automobiles on the road. Through these initiatives, the city of Monroe hopes to decrease emissions and improve air quality for the entire community.
Girl Scouts Louisiana East is geared towards helping young girls develop and use their leadership skills to impact the environment in a positive way. The goal of the project is to promote environmental stewardship through schools and communities in order to improve air quality, promote energy and water use, waste management and using green space. A few proposed ideas include a ‘no idling’ program at schools, planting trees and vegetable gardens, collecting Mardi Gras beads for recycling and redistribution, launching a walk to school program, starting a school recycling program, promoting paper recycling, and finding ways to eliminate plastic.
The Louisiana Native Plant Initiative is developing a ‘green’ industry to produce and distribute native species for restoration projects, roadside enhancement, and ornamental plant production. It addresses the social, environmental and economical concerns, with primary focus on conservation, development and utilization of natural resources in the state.