The Ozark Society Foundation has three projects in active status, each one involving board members and dedicated community volunteers:
Youth Grants: Based on the success of the first-year program, OSF Board member Roslyn Imrie and a committee of local environmental educators launched Year 2 of the Youth Grants program. The program will engage youth in active environmental projects. Grant proposals may be submitted from schools and nonprofit organizations in the Ozarks region (Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Louisiana). Project funding between $1,000 and $3,000 will be awarded based on the scope and needs of the student activity. Up to ten projects may be funded. Applications will be accepted from August 23 to October 16, 2020. Award notification and funds distribution will occur by December 2020. Projects will have one year to complete their objectives. Final grant reports will be due by November 2022.
Documentary Film: The film production crew, West Creative Group of Springfield, MO, is busy creating initial scripts and first-draft footage after an active half-year of research, interviews, and site shoots. A diverse committee of OS/OSF board members and community volunteers are reviewing the work in process. The film (yet unnamed) will be a 53-minute documentary that tells the history of public policy issues relating to the Ozarks and the Buffalo River. The story will encompass issues from the 1960s to the present day. The film is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, and premier showings at several sites will begin in March 2022.
Sassafras Award for Excellence in Environmental Writing: With its submission period closing in July, the OSF Sassafras Award received more than a dozen submissions in its first year. The manuscripts are currently being reviewed by the award committee to select the top choices. Finalist judge Davis McCombs, director of the UA Creative Writing Program and a former park ranger at Mammoth Cave, will select the award winner. The selection announcement and prize ceremony will be held in spring 2022.
OSF took the precaution postponing an August 14 public program by the authors of “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas.” A Little Rock program will be rescheduled when all parties are more confident in public health issues.
The book continues to receive outstanding reviews from media and comments from national experts.
As an example, here is a recent note received from Dr. Peter Raven, a Missouri scientist considered one of the premier botanists in the nation.
Thank you so much for your fine book, “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas”. What a nice piece of work, and how much it will mean to the people of the state! It’s really by means of books such as it that people learn about and become interested in their natural heritage, and in Arkansas, it’s a very special one! Keep up your fine work in plant identification and conservation, and let me know if I can ever do anything to help!
Very best wishes,
Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus
Missouri Botanical Garden
As always, the work of a nonprofit includes a great deal of behind-the-scenes detail and dedicated effort by board members. Susan Young continues to develop a comprehensive document storage system. Other OSF board members have been responsible for financial structures, including creating an Endowment Fund and an investment account. The board has also established a formal Publication Policy to guide decision-making regarding future books.