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So far The Ozark Society has created 48 blog entries.
6 09, 2022

My Personal Encounter with the Asa Gray Disjunct

By |2022-09-06T14:28:27-05:00September 6th, 2022|Categories: Fall 2022, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

By Fred Paillet, Ozark Society Education Chair The title of this piece prompts several questions.  Who was Asa Gray, what is a disjunct, and why does he have one named after him?  How did I manage to encounter his disjunct and what made it so personal?  It all goes back to my earliest outdoor experiences in the woods of rural Connecticut.  I grew up in a family that spent a lot of time in the outdoors fishing, hunting and just plain enjoying the scenery.  When not actively out there, we were usually reading about the natural world in general, and especially the great north woods where my French-Canadian ancestors came from.  Those interests eventually blossomed into a career as a geoscientist with the expectation that such a life would lead me to a career of outdoor adventure.  And, so it did.  I was delighted to have a job based out of Colorado with the Rocky Mountains at my doorstep, with projects all over the mountain west and even in Hawaii.  But something was missing. This was apparent as I became used to the rather monotonous conifer forests of the American west and northern Canada.  Ranks of Engelmann spruce or [...]

6 09, 2022

Saving Energy to Help Prevent Climate Crisis

By |2023-01-25T17:50:38-06:00September 6th, 2022|Categories: Fall 2022, Pack & Paddle|

By Dina Nash, Climate Committee Saving energy involves cutting back on big-ticket items. For most people, we’re talking about house and office, yard, car, food, appliances, errands and investment choices. Start by making the decision to change your lifestyle. Then sign up for a free energy audit from your gas and electric utilities. The audits will tell you what needs to be fixed, tightened, insulated better or lighted (i.e., with LED bulbs). Then decide which of the following energy-saving tips to implement. You’ll save money, reduce emissions and set an example for your children and grandchildren. Yards - Reduce the square footage that is in grass or needs constant tending. Landscape cloth with mulch or gravel or sand on top can be attractive and functional for reducing water, tillage, pesticides, mowing and other labor. Or turn your lawn into a pollinator garden. Mow with an electric mower to reduce emissions. Houses - Live in the smallest house you can stand to live in or seal off unused spaces after consulting with your HVAC experts. Many people, especially retired ones, have half a house they don't use except when a guest comes about six days a year. Heating and cooling it [...]

6 09, 2022

In Memoriam

By |2022-09-06T14:19:59-05:00September 6th, 2022|Categories: Fall 2022, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

For Judy Emily Woltjen Judy Emily Woltjen was born on May 18, 1939, in St Louis, Missouri, and passed on June 1, 2022 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After graduating from Ferguson High School in Missouri, Judy attended nursing school and worked as a registered nurse for over 40 years.  In 1957, she met a young second lieutenant in the Army that recently graduated from engineering school named Duane Woltjen. They started their journey together of deep love and adventure which included cave exploring, whitewater racing, canoeing, hiking, trail construction and conservation activism. Judy and Duane were only one week away from their 63rd anniversary upon her passing. In 1969, as a young mother, Judy testified at a United States Senate hearing on clean air. Her testimony was part of a movement that led to the landmark legislation now known as the Clean Air Act of 1970.   This was just the beginning of Judy dedicating much of her life to conservation and preserving nature for all to enjoy. She lived a remarkable and exemplary life of faith, love, hiking, canoeing, and dedication to conservation. Judy, along with her husband and countless others, worked on preserving the rivers of Missouri and Arkansas. They also led [...]

6 09, 2022

The Ozark Society Youth Grants for 2022-2023

By |2022-09-06T14:17:08-05:00September 6th, 2022|Categories: Fall 2022, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

By Roslyn Imrie, OSF Youth Grants Chair The Ozark Society Foundation (OSF) is soliciting proposals for a Youth Engagement Grant to local organizations that are working with students in environmental and conservation efforts.  Grants will go to organizations who encourage students to engage environmental awareness and conservation in the Ozark and/or Ouachita region. Successful projects range between $1000 and $3000 depending on the scope and needs of the project. Funds may be combined with other sources of funds to increase the size / impact of the project. To apply you must be affiliated with a 501c3 nonprofit or school located in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, or the Caddo, Bossier, Webster and Claiborne parishes of Louisiana. These funds may not be used for administrative operating expenses, including but not limited to postage, billing, computer software or systems, rentals, paper goods, food/beverages, or social functions. Direct costs, such as paying teaching staff, is permitted only for nonprofits. Projects should actively engage students in conservation efforts that have tangible outcomes. Hands-on learning, service learning, community projects, and advocacy is encouraged while listening to lectures or simply being taken outdoors is not what we will be looking for. Grant Timeline: Applications open Monday August 29, [...]

6 09, 2022

Board Recommends Liability Waivers

By |2022-09-06T14:14:14-05:00September 6th, 2022|Categories: Fall 2022, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

By David Peterson, Ozark Society President At the summer meeting, the Ozark Society Board of Directors passed a recommendation that the Ozark Society and its chapters implement the signing of liability waivers at all hiking and paddling events. These risk and liability waivers generally have three parts: The participant attests that they are in good physical health and capable of participating in the hiking or paddling event, and that they understand that they may be exposed to a variety of hazards and risks, foreseen or not foreseen, that are inherent to the event, and that they have read and understood information made available by the organizers. They acknowledge that the event is at the discretion of the event organizer who can exclude those deemed unable to properly participate, set age limits, deny pets, and determine group size. Participants assume personal responsibility for all risks associated with travel to and from an event. A participant who leaves early during an event or continues after the conclusion assumes all risks in the decision with no liability against the Ozark Society. And finally they agree to waive, discharge claims, and release from liability the Ozark Society, its agents, assistants and other leaders [...]

25 05, 2022

Climate Change and the Ozark Society

By |2022-05-25T16:29:09-05:00May 25th, 2022|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2022|Tags: |

By Jennifer Ailor, Climate Committee Chair Climate change is the existential threat of our times. Where is it, you may ask. Melting glaciers, devastating hurricanes and tornadoes, raging forest fires, drought, 130-degree temperatures in Pakistan and India, massive flooding, warming ocean waters and expanding dead zones, these events are far away from the Ozarks and our beloved Buffalo River.           Watch out. Stream water is warming In the Ozarks, and we’re experiencing hotter summers, milder winters and shifting shoulder seasons. Invasives are moving in. Amphibians and fish counts are changing. Forests may begin drying out. Bird migration patterns and numbers are responding to hotter temperatures and habitat loss. We’re seeing wetter springs and drier summers. The Ozark Society states will not be spared further climate change impacts. The worst is yet to come. It seemed fitting in this 50th anniversary year of the Buffalo becoming the country’s first national river that the Ozark Society take a stand on climate change. In February, Alice Andrews, Brian Thompson, David Peterson, myself and Dr. Stephen Boss of the University of Arkansas put together a positioning statement and collected links to studies on climate change now posted at https://www.ozarksociety.net/about-us/os-climate-change-statement/.  [...]

25 05, 2022

Bayou Chapter Recognizes Roy O’Neal

By |2022-05-25T16:26:15-05:00May 25th, 2022|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2022|Tags: |

By Marian Howard and Shannon O’Neal The expression “the glue that holds everything together” is the perfect description of what Roy O’Neal has meant to the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society for over 3 decades. Roy has served 3 terms as Chairman - in 1995 and 1996 and again in 2018 when no one else volunteered to step up and serve.  He has been a board member for over 10 years because he said that was the only time he’d get to see his Arkansas friends!  He has been working with the Bayou Byline newsletter for almost 30 years, been the contact person for the annual Athens-Big Fork Trail Maintenance and has organized the local Duck Pond Cleanup a couple of times each year.  Not to mention his invaluable assistance in transporting several hundred pounds of crawfish to the Annual BCOS Crawfish Boil and making sure the burners are functioning and providing expertise in taste testing.  Roy can always be counted on to help out whenever and wherever the need arises.      Since he has a need to constantly do something, beginning with a morning crossword and moving on from there, Roy gets a lot done. He’s [...]

25 05, 2022

Mount Whitney Again!

By |2022-05-25T16:23:10-05:00May 25th, 2022|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2022|Tags: |

By Steve Heye, Pulaski Chapter Outings Chair Is the third time a charm? In 2020 it was Covid restrictions, then in 2021 it was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that stopped Steve Heye from reaching the top of Mt. Whitney, California. For 2022, Steve is fired up to make it happen. And he would like a couple of you to come along.      The permit is from August 21st to August 26th. We will be hiking from the Cottonwood Pass Campground to Whitney Portal, about 35 miles.                   We will spend two nights at Cottonwood to acclimatize to altitude. We will be hiking on the Pacific Coast Trail and the John Muir Trail, averaging just 6 miles a day on great trails. The plan is to fly to Las Vegas on the 18th or 19th and drive over to Lone Pine, the city at Mt. Whitney. Then after spending two nights at 10,000 feet, hit the trail on the 21st. After completing the hike, fly back from Vegas on the 27th.       If you are interested in going on this hike please email me: heye@aristotle.net. If you would be interested in [...]

25 05, 2022

Shiloh Museum Exhibit

By |2022-05-25T16:20:24-05:00May 25th, 2022|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2022|Tags: |

By Janet Parsch, Highlands Chapter Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, AR, was the gathering place for the most recent event in Northwest Arkansas related to the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Buffalo National River. In January 2022 the museum opened a new exhibit, titled “Ken Smith’s Buffalo River Country,” featuring photos, memorabilia, manuscripts, and artifacts from author, trail-builder, and conservationist Ken Smith.   Ken Smith at the Shiloh Museum      The exhibit is focused primarily on the time in the mid-1960s when Ken was researching and exploring the Buffalo River watershed for background for his book, Buffalo River Country, first published in 1967. The exhibit is an historical look that conveys the feel of the Buffalo River area of almost 60 years ago. A large wall-sized map of the Buffalo River watershed is populated with Ken’s photos from specific areas, along with 15-20 other large photos. Manuscripts, reports, trail-building tools, and early maps hand-drawn by Ken complete the exhibit.   The Ken Smith Interview On April 27, Shiloh Museum staff hosted a gathering of Ozark Society members and friends from the Highlands Chapter and the Sugar Creek Chapter. Some fifty people attended [...]

25 05, 2022

The Buffalo River and Beyond Networking Event

By |2022-05-25T16:16:30-05:00May 25th, 2022|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2022|Tags: |

By Lucas Parsch, Ozark Society VP On March 31, 2022, the members of the Highlands Chapter (Fayetteville) and the Sugar Creek Chapter (Bentonville) of the Ozark Society hosted “The Buffalo River…and Beyond,” a networking event at the Mt Sequoyah Bailey Center in Fayetteville.  Attendees at the event included approximately  100 members of the Highlands and Sugar Creek chapters 40 persons representing 22 non-profit conservation groups in Northwest Arkansas 10-20 guests The objective of the event was three-fold: Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo National River and other collaborative successes of environmental groups Foster awareness of like-minded conservation organizations through networking Encourage future partnerships between Northwest Arkansas non-profit organizations to reach bold conservation goals as a conservation community       The keynote speaker was Rex Nelson, Senior Editor at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and one of the most high-profile writers and speakers in the state.   Lucas Parsch, MC of the meeting      The capacity crowd (approx. 155 people) was treated to a sit-down dinner catered by Spring Street Grill of Springdale AR.  The event was sponsored and funded by the two chapters with the help of generous donations from several members of the Highlands Chapter. [...]


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