Happy 2020 from South Fork!

The team at South Fork Nature Center would like to wish you a new year full of excitement & wonder!

We’re grateful for all the amazing visitors who have come to explore our Greers Ferry Lake trails, from elementary students watching caterpillars wiggle, to the conservation groups that team up to preserve our unique lakefront ecology.

Remember that the trails at South Fork are open every day, year round! We’re not far from the recreational area on Greers Ferry Lake off Highway 330. Feel free to enjoy the beautiful woodlands – bring a friend, a camera, or even a pet!

If you’re a teacher, scientist, artist, or just a nature buff, you might be interested in joining our docent team (ask us how!)
If you’d like to host a class or group event, we have experts ready to guide you!
If you’d like to contribute your love of nature in another way, please consider a tax-deductible donation to our efforts.

May 2020 be the year you reconnect with nature in a magical way. We hope to be a small part of that.

Summer Cleaning

Shout out to our trail maintenance team led by Don Culwell, Bob Verboon, Chris Graham and Charles Thompson! They’ve been busy as bees removing fallen trees from the trails this summer. Also, Philip Miron dutifully cuts the grass on the trails and the side of the road coming into South Fork.

Thanks boys, we couldn’t do it without YOU!

Firm Foundations Home Schoolers

SFNC Hosts the Firm Foundations Home School Group

by Krissi Graham

If someone wanted to introduce a hive of homeschoolers to Entomophagy [en-to-moph-a-gy; noun: the practice of eating insects, especially by people] they should use the facilities at South ‘FORK’.

That’s exactly where Dori Cornelius brought 21 nature enthusiasts on May 10, 2019. For several in the group, it was their first hike at South Fork, and their first taste (myself included) of meal worm larvae. Many feigned temporary vegetarian status to avoid the peer pressure of consuming Top ‘Leaf’ grade ‘A’, precooked, flavored, and packaged edibles from Amazon. But no one missed out on the profound data associated with this lesser known dining habit. Would any cattle farmers consider this as an alternate knowing the percent protein is much higher in a 200 calorie entree? Compare the data yourself at www.edibleinsects.com/insect-nutrition-information/.

For more info on our culinary experience, or to inquire about this Christian faith-based group and their weekly family/educational activities, email Dori at doricornelius@gmail.com.

Special Guests from Counseling Associates

Greenbrier school kids from grades 1-8 were on hand at SFNC with their Counseling Associate teachers on June 3-6; approximately 20 different students came each day to walk the trails with South Fork docents and study plant and animal life.

Lunchtime brought out sacks the students had brought with them; then each student skewered a hot dog on his fork and roasted it over the fire in the pavilion fire pit. So, all fed and feeling good, students returned to their studies in nature for the afternoon; some returned to a trail walk, others played a nature game, and some hiked to a circle of benches to learn more about the “out-of-doors.

Learning about the environment, the plants and animals and their ecology, and doing so in the outdoor classroom followed South Fork’s motto:

“No child left inside to stamp out the nature deficit syndrome…more sun-time and less screen-time!”

Docent Group & Clinton Summer School

May 31, 2019

We had a BLAST at our recent fun day with Clinton Summer School students & teachers! These 35 Yellowjackets “buzzed” around with our docents & Clinton Schools instructor Kathi Beavers on scavenger hunts, outdoor bingo, and ecology lessons. Special thanks to Marc Hirrel, Ruth Andre, Janet Miron, and Krissi Graham for creative instruction! The teachers modeled recycling practices to the young crowd. We couldn’t have asked for better weather or a more entertaining group.

No Child Left Inside!

Call 501-745-6444 to schedule your group visit or outdoor enrichment activity!

June 1: Master Naturalists

Dr. Culwell visits with Master Naturalists at South Fork

Master Naturalists Visit South Fork

Dr. Don Culwell, Programs Director

Saturday, June 1, was the day for Don Culwell to meet with returning Master Naturalists of the Foothills Chapter and those just completing their requirements for graduation and entrance into the full program. This experience at SFNC seems to happen each year at this time…what fun it is for everyone!

Dr. Culwell visits with Master Naturalists at South Fork

Culwell had fun showing the “students” how to identify trees along a trail before everyone finds a seat on a bench beside a table at the pavilion for a closer look at seeds, seedlings, herbaceous plants, woody plants and just what makes them to be what they are. There is function and purpose for each structure, from the parts of a seed, to the making of the xylem tissue to conduct water, and the phloem tissue to conduct sugars made in the green tissues of the leaves. These plants, both the soft herbaceous and the woody ones, function to make flowers with all their exciting and intriguing parts (ever consider how a single pollen grain can grow a long tube to deliver its two sperm to the egg in the developing ovule?) And there are so many plants in the forest, so many different species, each with their own peculiar structures, colors, sizes, and even the functions they serve in the total ecosystem where they have been planted by nature. And so it goes for the class study!

Then, all filled with the exciting knowledge of plant life, the scene in the pavilion changed to one where some of these fruits, seeds, and leaves were made into a “table spread” fit for any king, one that was sure to satisfy the pallet and any hunger that had been worked up into the frenzy of an appetite!

After lunch, ten new Master Naturalists soon received their certificates and had their pictures made showing a remembrance of the occasion. Welcome all you Master Naturalists into a fine program and welcome, also, to the South Fork Nature Center where lots of activity and things “outdoors” are always happening!