The Ozark Society Foundation has several new projects in planning stages.
The creation of a new field guide, “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas,” is underway. The book will be a 400-page color compendium of state flora, scheduled to be available later this year.
Photo in consideration for cover of new Arkansas Trees book.
The work leading up to “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas” started in 2012 by then-OSF Board Chair Kim Smith. The project initially focused on revising a previously published OSF book, a field guide to state trees, shrubs, and vines authored by Carl Hunter. Because Hunter’s original photos were unavailable and more contemporary materials were accessible, OSF chose to create a new field guide. Until recently, project progress was delayed by organizational transition, professional relocation, and the death of individuals.
At this time, the book co-authors, Jennifer Ogle and Theo Witsell, are completing the final content. OSF has submitted proposals to several funders to support the graphic designer and printer work, public programs, and book promotion.
Planning is underway to establish an annual award for excellence in writing on ecology, natural resources, and other themes that align with the OS mission. This will be a judged competition with an entry fee, accepting submissions of published or unpublished work. The winner will receive a cash award and, for unpublished manuscripts, consideration for publication by OSF. Submissions can be in any literary genre, but not academic or scientific work. Announcement of the program is planned for this fall.
Outreach efforts have begun to recruit additional OSF board members to expand the organization and contribute to new project development. A “call for candidates” recruitment letter has been shared with state environmental organizations and key individuals.
Youth engagement grants
Initial planning is underway for a program that will award small grants to state nonprofit organizations to engage youth in ecology projects. In addition, OSF board members are also involved in partnership projects with the Ozark Society and public institutions.
A documentary film will tell the conservation history of the Buffalo National River and related environmental efforts in Arkansas. The film will raise awareness of the river as a national treasure preserved as a result of local vigilance, particularly by Dr. Neil Compton and the Ozark Society. The film’s primary purpose is to inspire continued public awareness and engagement in conservation issues for the preservation of the Buffalo River, Arkansas wilderness areas, and other unique natural resources. The film will be completed to coincide with the summer 2022 programs that celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo National River and the 60th anniversary of the Ozark Society. Outreach has been made to filmmakers and donors for the film creation.
Clinton School of Public Service student project
Following a presentation by OS and OSF board members at the Clinton School ‘project fair,’ a graduate student has chosen an Ozark Society project for his independent study work over the next year. The student will investigate the Arkansas Phosphorus Index, leading to policy recommendations and public communication of related issues. David Peterson will be project advisor.
60th Anniversary planning for the Buffalo National River
An extensive list of project ideas has been created. Planning meetings with potential partners have been postponed due to the health crisis.