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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Holly Grove in Monroe County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Life in the Swamp

 

— Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park —

 
Life in the Swamp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2015
1. Life in the Swamp Marker
Inscription.  Before Lewis and Clark explored the Louisiana Territory in 1804, little was known about the land or the animals of this vast region. President Jefferson, interested in America's natural resources, instructed the expedition to collect specimens and to record their observations. The reports filed by these explorers stimulated interest in the new land.

Over 175 years later we are still observing nature and becoming more aware of the complex relationships which exist between plants and animals. This swamp forms a unique habitat. Swamp inhabitants have developed physical and behavioral characteristics enabling them to live in harmony.

Reptiles
have never been popular creatures from man's point of view. For centuries, settlers and rural residents have been haunted by the fear of reptiles. Until the invention of boardwalks, swamps were not the place to venture on foot. Today, scientific studies have shown us the value of reptiles not only to the swamp habitat but to the total environment.

Cottonmouths, most common poisonous snakes in the swamp, feed on frogs and fish. Occasionally seen basking on logs or in low
Marker detail: Trees and Shrubs image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Trees and Shrubs
branches, they are unobtrusive, unless molested.

Diamondback Watersnakes, though similar to the cottonmouth, are one of several harmless snakes in the swamp. They feed on frogs and fish and can be distinguished from the cottonmouth by the shape of their heads and skin patterns.

Common Snapping Turtles bite viciously when handled. Though capable of catching fish and other aquatic animals, they fill the role of swamp scavenger, feeding on dead animals. Long necks, large heads, ridged carapace and long tails make identification easy.

Note: The American Alligator, though considered an endangered species, is now growing in numbers. It is known to occur in eastern Arkansas and has been spotted in this swamp. For your own safety, stay on the boardwalk.

Trees and shrubs
provide food and shelter for other swamp residents. More than 9 different species can be seen from the boardwalk. Here are a few — can you identify the others?
Button Bush • Bald Cypress • Swamp Cottonwood • Swamp Chestnut Oak • Water Tupelo

Birds
are the most conspicuous residents of the swamp. If you remain quiet, you may be able to see and hear the birds pictured here.

Pileated Woodpeckers, large birds (crow sized) with solid black backs and red topknots, feed on larvae and grubs from dead and living trees! The drumming
Life in the Swamp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2015
3. Life in the Swamp Marker
(looking from boardwalk into the swamp)
of their beaks is distinctive and their calls come in a series, never singly.

Wood Ducks nest in tree cavities and feed on aquatic plants and insects. Large heads, short necks, long square tails and long slicked-back topknots allow for easy identification. Their call is a distinctive rising whistle.

Prothonotary Warblers, common in wooded swamps, have golden heads and blue-gray wings. They are seldom seen far from water and nest in tree cavities over low water. Their loud, clear song sounds like “Sweet! Sweet! Sweet! Sweet! Sweet!”
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsEnvironmentExplorationParks & Recreational Areas.
 
Location. 34° 38.687′ N, 91° 3.148′ W. Marker is near Holly Grove, Arkansas, in Monroe County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 362 1.8 miles east of U.S. 49. Marker is located along the swamp boardwalk in Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Holly Grove AR 72069, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Purchase: 1801-1803 (within shouting distance of this marker); Louisiana Territory: 1682-1800 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Survey: 1815 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Swamp
The Swamp Boardwalk image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2015
4. The Swamp Boardwalk
(view of swamp boardwalk from near marker)
(about 300 feet away); Two Lines Mark the Future of the United States (about 300 feet away); Beginning Point of the Louisiana Purchase Survey (about 400 feet away); The Opening of the American West (about 400 feet away); Louisiana Purchase State Park (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Holly Grove.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park
 
Also see . . .  Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park. The park’s complex plant community includes species normally associated with swamps, such as swamp tupelo, bald cypress, black willow, and buttonbush, in proximity with upland species such as sweet gum, mulberry, Nuttall oak, and sassafras. Many bird species — such as the prothonotory warbler, the belted kingfisher, the pileated woodpecker, and the barred owl—can be observed in the surrounding swamp area. (Submitted on August 25, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 23, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 60 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 25, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Jan. 28, 2021