New Louisiana Historical Marker Honors Conservationist

By Brad Dison

Last year, Gloria Church, an ambassador in Girl Scout Troop 1512 in Natchitoches, began working on her Gold Award project to acquire a state historical marker at Briarwood Nature Preserve for Caroline Dormon.  She began a fundraising campaign on, and raised $3,865 from 80 backers.  Backers who donated $20 or more received an enamel 1.25″ by 0.9″ pin with a picture of Caroline Dormon. 

Gloria said “I chose to do my Gold Award project on Caroline Dormon because she is underrepresented in the local community considering her great amount of accomplishments. By establishing a state historical marker, not only does it share the history of Dormon, the sign will attract people into Briarwood Nature Preserve to see her legacy. I believe that women who had smaller, but important, accomplishments in local regions are not given the credit they deserve. The sign is a small step, but a push into encouraging other girls to represent historical women in their local regions.” 

The Louisiana historical marker was recently placed near the entrance of the Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve, which is about a mile south of Saline on Highway 9.

Text on front of marker:  The botanist, artist, author, conservator, and pioneer, Caroline Dormon, was born at Briarwood in Saline, Louisiana on July 19, 1886.  Established by Dormon’s grandparents, Harietta and Benjamin Sweat, in 1859, Briarwood was originally a cotton plantation.  In 1921, she became the first woman employed by the U.S. forestry Department, and she took a major part in establishing Kisatchie National Forest in 1930.  Dormon researched and studied a variety of native irises.

Text on back of marker:  President Roosevelt appointed Dormon as the La representative on the Desoto commission in 1936; she was the only woman to serve on the board.  Dormon wrote several publications about wildlife and the environment.  She conserved La wildflowers for landscaping and on highways.  Dormon was awarded with an honorary doctorate from L.S.U. in 1965 for her work in botany and horticulture.  Caroline Dormon passed away on November 23, 1971 and was buried at Briarwood Baptist Cemetery.

Source:  “Caroline Dormon State Historical Marker Funding,” IndieGoGo, accessed May 27, 2021,


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