FAMN Wind Cleanup

March Came into Arkansas Like a Lion……. and left trees down across the trails!

The Foothills Chapter of Arkansas Master Naturalists showed up at SFNC on March 6th to remove blow-down trees laying across the hiking trails at the nature center. Trail Maintenance Boss, Charles Thompson of FAMN, sent out the call for help in removing the trees. The call was quickly answered by FAMN members Bob Verboon, Larry Fliss and Paul Hugeness and SFNC Docent Bob Hartman. Armed with their saws they made short order of cutting up the three plus trees laying across the trails. Clearing the trails is an endless job at the Nature Center. South Fork Nature Center is extremely thankful for the support from, and partnership with, The Foothills of Arkansas Master Naturalists!

Part 2: A Healthy Forest is a Managed Forest

Meet Joe Krystofik, Fish and Wildlife State Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arkansas Field Office.

Joe has been instrumental in providing guidance and funding for SFNC’s recent Glade Restoration Project and our Monarch Butterfly Habitat restoration program. We are thankful for his expertise and never-ending support of SFNC.

The Southeast Region Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in improving habitat for migratory birds, endangered, threatened and at-risk species. They particularly emphasize projects with the potential to provide habitat for rare, threatened and endangered species. The “Partners” program is helping SFNC in their forest enhancement through mid-story management and prescribed burning.

According to the SFNC Woodlands Restoration Plan,

“The expected benefit to Federal Trust Species is to improve habitat conditions for the Northern long-eared bat, which is listed as a threatened species, several at-risk species including Monarch butterfly and Texas Frosted Elfin, as well as the species of greatest conservation need identified in the Arkansas Wildlife Action Plan: Bewick’s Wren, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Slender Glass Lizard.”

Tree stand management is the latest development in our SFNC Woodland Restoration Plan. The Foothills Master Naturalists (FAMNs) and Clint Johnson with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have worked hard keeping our trails and structures cleared of leaves, as these trails will serve as fire lines for the prescribed burns scheduled at SFNC. An attempt to burn was made in early November but was unsuccessful. The TNC Burn Team will try again when all the conditions line up for a perfect prescribed burn. Afterwards, forester Wade Hargrove will supervise a selected commercial harvest to improve the health of our tree stand and open our canopy to improve ground herbaceous growth, which improves the habitat for many native species.

Please stay tuned for our third article about this restoration project. We look forward to reporting on the latest progress.

April 2017 CAMN Workshop

CULWELL LEADS MASTER NATURALISTS IN SATURDAY WORKSHOP

Seventeen members of the Central Arkansas Foothills Chapter of Master Naturalists met on Saturday, April 19, for their last formal Saturday class before completing their study requirements begun back in January (they will have completed course requirements involving the environment and its plants and animals). Saturday’s class dealt with many aspects of plants (herbs, woody plants, their flowers, fruits and seeds). Bob Verboon was the Master Naturalist in charge of the class as Culwell had students dissecting flowers and other plant parts noting their structures and functions. Afternoon time was spent learning how to use a plant key (Trees of Arkansas from the Forestry Commission) to identify trees; an outside walk to key out lawn trees and learn their features gave students welcome experience.

The class session, scheduled to be held at South Fork Nature Center, was held in the First Baptist Church fellowship hall in Clinton due to the extended rain potential forecast for all day.