Much has been going on for the OSF. The youth grant program is underway, and “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas” is published. To get the youth grants started, board member Roslyn Imrie worked with community partner volunteers to define the grant criteria and select the best projects. For the trees book, board member Ken Leonard worked with the authors to complete the large manuscript and coordinated with state agencies and donors for resources and support. Both projects were well received by the public because they are clearly linked to our mission of education.
The trees field guide continues the OSF tradition as a publisher of books. And the grants program introduces a new focus on youth engagement in conservation.
Two additional activities are planned, the OSF Endowment Fund and the award for excellence in environmental writing. The Endowment Fund will assure our organization has longevity well into the future. The Endowment Fund will be part of an updated OSF financial strategy for annual budget and investment decisions. The award for excellence in environmental writing is planned for launch in March 2021, avoiding competing for public attention with the new book.
Board membership has changed recently. Rex Robbins has resigned and two new board members have joined, both with deep Arkansas roots. Francie Bolter is a retired rhetoric and writing professor whose parents Hubert and Mary Ferguson testified in Congress against damming the Buffalo River and were recipients of the Compton Award. Anna Jeter Lester is a financial manager who has hiked and floated on many Ozark Society outings. Anna is leading the endowment fund planning, while Francie is involved in the literature award planning and as a proofreader for the trees book.
In 2021, the OSF will continue to partner with the Ozark Society Archives Committee to create a documentary film on the history of the Buffalo River. The project fundraising has been successful, and the film’s budget of $185,000 has been secured. The film will be shown during the 2022 Ozark Society anniversary events.