All environmental science educators please see the flier below. Marc and Suzanne are great docents at South Fork Nature Center. They put on awesome workshops.
We’re happy to announce that our hiking trails are once again OPEN to the public!
As of May 1, 2022, visitors can now hike and explore our nature trails on Greers Ferry Lake. Please remember to take only photos, and leave nothing but footprints. Pets are allowed on a leash.
Please contact us to request access for group activities.
The Earth’s rich mosaic of life has a complex and gorgeous voice.”Hank Lentfer
It’s evening now, and this time of year the melodious up and down buzz of locusts fills the air in my neighborhood…must be a hundred of those large, nearly 2 inch long, fat, green insects rubbing their legs as if they are bows on fiddles…the orchestral piece is stunning! Can you hear it in the trees outside…the buzz up and down the musical scale, on and on?
The purr of the hummingbird wings (90 beats or more per second) as the tiny feathered friend with its throat decked out in ruby red scarf…then in zips an angry hummer intruder, fast, with its shirring, purring hum as it darts after the one feeding on the red sugar water that hangs on my porch. Now both hummers have quickly darted off, only to have one of them return shortly. Can you hear those beating wings with an occasional “chip, chip” of its tiny voice?
Then out back from the deep woods comes the raucous call of the pileated woodpecker…I can see it in the tree as it flies near me, its large red crest standing as if it is all butched…its raucous call breaks the silence of the morning as the sun rises and the day slowly reached full speed.
Or maybe you are sitting at the base of a large oak soaking up all the nature around you in the cool of the day. Hear the wind in the trees…the pines over there almost seem to whistle so softly in the breeze…leaves of the red maple twitch and turn a bit.
Not uncommonly this time of year a silent moment reveals the pelting of tiny bits of insect droppings from vast armies of walking sticks, caterpillars, or some other ravenous insects as they defoliate the trees…droppings resounding on the brown leaves of the forest floor like so much sleet in the winter woods.
Many are the sounds, some so quiet and soft, almost unnoticed (not the crashing, thunderous storm)… quiet moments, sweet songs, a scampering here and there, the snort of a doe warning her fawn…check out the biodiversity as Hank Lentfer so ably puts it, “The Earth’s rich mosaic of life has a complex and gorgeous voice.”
Dr. Don Culwell, Programs Director
Gates Rogers Foundation
How are you? Isolated and wishing for a good walk at SFNC, even with a class of excited kids? “We surely are down” as the Nature Center is closed! Could it be possible for us to reopen sometime next spring?? Hope so! We have had 2 groups of kids wanting to be outside on the trails this fall, and, of course, the answer was “we’re sorry, but we’re closed.”
I, probably like you, feel a real void without activities at SFNC and wonder at times if there isn’t some way for us to get our “nature fix,” even meeting with social distancing and masks at the pavilion. A project to bring some of us together might be cleaning up the downed trees. There are a number of big cedars down at the bridge which need to be dealt with, a project with distancing outdoors that could take care of brush and ready some good cedar logs to be dragged out of the glade where they lie.
Late last August we had grant monies come available to conduct a burn on our glades, an activity that Clint Johnson, our Game and Fish advisor, has noted in his upkeep plan for SFNC. Such a late season burn usually knocks down sapling growth; our pine and sweetgum saplings in the glades seem to have been significantly burned like we had hoped with that prescribed burn. Perhaps a downside of the burn is the destruction of about a quarter of our bridge over the glade behind the cabin; it could be time now for significant replacement of the wooden bridge floor, much of which is rotting between boards that had already been replaced. Perhaps this could be the time to consider a new type of crossing of that glade, one that would require even less maintenance; time will tell.
Anyway, South Fork is ready and itching for activity whenever healthy conditions return. Everyone, please keep safe and well!
Don Culwell 501-358-2095
Due to the continued precautions surrounding COVID-19 and the importance of social distancing in public spaces, our board has decided to keep the South Fork trails closed until further notice. Please watch our website and social media for updates on re-opening, and other exciting news. As summer approaches, we hope that you will keep safety in mind and enjoy outdoor spaces responsibly.
Remember, you can continue your support of South Fork and the Gates Rogers Foundation from home! Leave reviews online or donate to our conservation efforts with a tax-deductible contribution!
On behalf of the Gates Rogers Foundation board, thank you & be well!
We are honored to welcome the talented Bob Verboon to our Gates Rogers Foundation board! Mr. Verboon has contributed to our educational outreach for years as a docent educator.
- Member of Arkansas Master Naturalists since 2013
- President – Foothills Chapter Master Naturalists
- Avid Fly Fisher
- Amateur Taxidermist
Graduated with B.S. 1968 Fresno State University. Major: Animal Science; Minor: Biological Sciences
M.A. 1976 San Jose State University-Vocational Education
Graduate work at U of A and Oklahoma State University
45 years in Vocational Education; California as a Vocational Agriculture teacher; State Departments of Vocational Education in Arkansas and Oklahoma State Department of Career and Technical Education.
Retired in 2000 and worked several educational positions, including Executive Director of the Arkansas Association of Technical Educators, teaching at an Alternative School and driving a school bus until finally retiring in 2015.