What attracted me at first, was the basin's amazingly diverse and abundant wildlife, its rookeries with thousands of egrets and herons, its waters with billions of crawfish, and its ridges with deer, squirrel and woodcock. Then the scenes caught my eye - the meandering bayous fringed with bald cypress trees, the many glassine lakes reflecting vegetation into double images, and the mighty Atchafalaya River, the lifeline of the swamp. And then, finally, it was the people who engaged my attention- the colorful, interesting, friendly people who live, use, or think about the Atchafalaya Swamp.

Over the years I have come to care greatly about this significant wetland and its inhabitants. It is a special place to me as well as to the people of Louisiana. It should be a special place to us all, for this 1.4 million-acre soggy Atchafalaya swampland has been giving itself to us unselfishly since the beginning of man.

Now I want to go back and record the changes, tons of sediment greatly needed in Louisiana, vanishing wetlands, bayous once lined with baldcypress now display scrawny black willows. The old full-time swampers have died out, but their offspring still love and use the basin while living on the edge; and the wildlife, its still there because the 1.4 million acres of wetlands offers them a home.