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!

Thanks to our Trailkeepers!

January is usually a quiet month out at South Fork Nature Center.

This year, the wet weather has played havoc on some of our trees around the trails. The ground is so saturated that, combined with high winds, we’ve had a few trees down across our trails.

Our great supporters and volunteers from the Foothills Arkansas Master Naturalists were out this month on multiple days doing trail work to clear and maintain our beautiful trails. Master Naturalists Charles Thompson, Bob Verboon and Larry Fliss used their MN skills in chopping up the downed trees blocking the trails. Additional hours were spent blowing the leaves from our trails to accommodate our visitors. Much thanks and appreciation are shared with these great volunteers. You’re what makes SFNC GREAT!