One never knows enough to write in a vacuum. I have learned so much from my many mentors, including my Dad & Mom, the late Julian H. Thomas (a veterinarian) and Katie (I still don’t understand how she tolerated all those snakes in the house); Jim Delahoussaye; Ed Keiser; Marshall Eyster; the late John Thieret; Matt Dakin; Jim Dixon; Keith Arnold; the late Dick Baldauf; Herb Dessauer; the late Roland Coulson, and Ray Mendez.
I was fortunate to be surrounded by excellent naturalists and volunteers at the Louisiana Nature Center, including Jim Whelan, Mac Myers, Lucille McCook, Richard Carriere, Woodrum Pierson, the late Gene Naccari, Glenn Ousset, Bob Marye, Jennifer Outlaw Coulson, Tom Coulson, and David Muth.
Colleagues at Loyola University (Craig Hood, David White, Jim Wee, Frank Jordan, Paul Barnes, Patricia Dorn, Don Hauber) and the University of New Orleans (Bob Cashner, Mike Poirrier, Steve Stevenson, Sam Rogers, Marty O'Connell, Jim Grady, the late Shea Penland, Joe King) are constantly expanding my horizons.
Too numerous to name, but extremely important in my nature studies, have been my students at Arnaudville High School, Texas A&M University, University of New Orleans, and Loyola University New Orleans. And thanks to all those wonderful people who trekked the tropics with me and took classes at the Louisiana Nature Center. Add to these the wonderful naturalists at the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad, where I have served as a board member since the late 1980s. Luz Marie Hunter in Belize has always been my source of tropical insights.
I’m also lucky to have some fine naturalists in my family: daughter Aimée Thomas (spiders and general natural history) and brothers-in-law Bob Rogers (marine biology) and Larry Allain (prairie ecology and botany). Oh, and VERY important, a very tolerant wife – Polly – who has endured long absences, comfortless trips we’ve shared, and critters of all sorts living and loose in cars and homes. My other two children, Jennifer Phillips and Patrick Thomas, while not professional biologists, have spent many long hours accompanying me on field trips and/or sitting in the car on the side of the highway while I took a photo, recorded frog choruses, or scraped a dead snake off the asphalt.
Additionally, there are many others who have contributed directly to Nature Notes (and its processors, Nature Profiles and Delta Journal): Shannon Fortenberry, Tom Finnie, James Beck, Zack Lemann, David Castellanos, John Caruso, Dan Purrington, Bill Fontenot, Ron Glancey, Jerald Horst, Jim Wiley, Ray McClain, Garrie Landry, and Steve Darwin.
Last, but not least, I thank my editors at The Time-Picayune (Bob Marshall and Doug Tatum) and Louisiana LeVant magazine (Ben Taylor and Brooks O’Conner), plus those at Nature Notes (Polly Thomas, Aimee Thomas, Jennifer Phillips, and Laura Beatty).