Remarkably, mid-August this year in northwest Arkansas was wet and dreary, but on Compton Conservation Day, August 10, the Ozark Society, along with other conservation organizations, opened our tables to a warm, sunny day. Families and friends browsed through booths, took part in hands-on children’s activities, ate free ice cream, and listened to the music of “School of Rock.” This 2018 Compton Conservation Day, held at Compton Gardens and Conference Center (the former Compton family home and property) in Bentonville, Arkansas, like every other annual Compton celebration, is historically significant to the Ozark Society, as here we celebrate the founder of the Ozark Society, Dr. Neil Compton. On this day we remember both the efforts he and many others made to save the Buffalo River from being dammed as well as his endeavors to build a society for families and friends to enjoy nature in the Ozarks while working to keep our natural resources available for generations to come. He accomplished both of these goals!
The Ozark Society was well represented with three display tables and a pH testing activity for children of all ages. Books, puzzles and T-shirts were sold, while posters supporting the Buffalo River and the Roberts Tract of the Buffalo River Trail were displayed. The “umbrella” Ozark Society, Sugar Creek and Highlands chapters, Ozark Society Young Naturalists, along with the Ozark Society Foundation, were represented. Volunteers were stationed at every table and yet there was time for everyone to mill around and enjoy the day. Yes, we were present at this occasion!
The layout for this year’s event encouraged people to wander and engage with interactive displays while stopping to listen to Phat Tire’s Bike Safety talks and beekeepers’ demonstrations. Participants included Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, Buffalo River Partners, Ozark Natural Science Center, Hobbs State Park, the Arkansas Environmental Education Association, National Park Service staff at the Buffalo National River, Buffalo River Foundation, and the Arkansas Master Naturalists, just to name a few. At the evening tribute reception in the Conference Center, Ozark Society President David Peterson described some Ozark Society historical highlights as well as current activities. To conclude the program Flip Putthoff from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette offered some personal anecdotes about Dr. Compton. The turnout was good; the company was great; and the presentations were noteworthy. Next year be sure to put this event on your calendar and join us!