As most of you know, our pollinators are in deep trouble and ultimately in danger of extinction. The causes are diverse and challenging. Beginning with honeybees, scientists report that a class of insecticides called “neonics” is mainly responsible for their stunning decline. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states that nearly 40% of U.S. honeybee colonies collapsed last year, the worst loss ever! The neonics are thousands of times more toxic to bees than old DDT. Next there is glyphosate (Roundup). Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, one of the most intensely applied pesticides in the world. It was originally manufactured by Monsanto, now owned by the German based Bayer. In fact, the World Health Organization classifies glyphosate as a likely carcinogen. Friends of the Earth reports that Germany (home of Bayer) announced that they are banning the pesticide, joining many countries in banning it or setting severe limits on its use. It has been so profitable that Bayer/Monsanto can spend millions promoting/defending its use. Call it corporate greed. According to NRDC, our EPA approved the sale of Bayer’s neonic products, imidacloprid and clothianidin, without considering their impacts on bees, butterflies and birds – a violation of the Endangered Species Act. [...]
Some vines are a familiar part of the Ozark outdoors. We easily recognize grape vines and constantly worry about poison ivy. The latter makes us aware that Virginia creeper vines grow in the same environment as poison ivy and we know that three leaflets are bad while five are good (or at least harmless). The other vine we all know and often curse is the family of species known collectively as greenbrier. Greenbrier is common almost everywhere, entwining shrubs and encroaching on trails. The stems are thin but tough enough to trip a horse and are studded with spines that tear both flesh and clothing. Greenbrier is even a concern for gardeners, because birds spread the little blue-black berries far and wide, and once greenbrier seedlings are established in your flower beds, they are nearly impossible to extinguish. So, grapes are at least innocuous even if their fruit is either too sour or too seedy to bother with. Their vines keep mostly above our heads and their stems never carry any vicious spines. Two other common vines often escape notice because they look so much like the others we find so familiar. One of these is the rattan vine aka [...]
Mark your calendar! The Fall '20 Buffalo River Trail construction session is October 26-30. I and perhaps others will be doing some preparatory work the 23rd, 24th, and morning of the 25th as well. We'll be camping at Tyler Bend again in the main campground (sites #22-26 at no charge) so join us for a day, the weekend, or the whole week. I have some good news - for a change - regarding our obstacle at Little Rocky Creek. NPS has found a route they are happy with and has submitted it to the outside agencies that must sign-off on it. Approval will likely not come before September (if at all). I think this area is the last obstacle to an official opening of the trail so this is a high-priority project. Assuming it's approved, I anticipate having access to the work area from the private property above with a walk of about 3/4 mile to the work site, instead of a 2.5-mile hike from Red Bluff Road. NPS will likely have a UTV on-hand at least part of the time to haul tools. If all else fails, there's brush work and repairs that can be done elsewhere. Of course, [...]
The fall meeting of the Ozark Society is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at Lake Nixon in Little Rock AR. One order of business at the membership meeting will be the biennial election of members to the Ozark Society Board of Directors. Positions up for election to a two-year term are: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications/Membership Chair, Conservation Chair, Education Chair, Community Engagement Chair, and Archival Chair. In addition, two State Directors (i.e., board members at-large) each for Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri will also be elected. The Nominations Committee is seeking nominees, suggestions, and/or volunteers who are interested in serving on the Board of Directors by running for one of these important Ozark Society positions. Interested persons, or those with suggestions for nominees should contact one of the following nominating committee members: Alice Andrews: email@example.com Lowell Collins: firstname.lastname@example.org Luke Parsch, Chair: email@example.com A listing of current 2019-2020 Ozark Society Board members can be found at: www.ozarksociety.net/about-us/officers Duties of officers can be found in the Ozark Society Bylaws at www.ozarksociety.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/os-bylaws-9nov2019.pdf
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ninth annual Neil Compton Day event celebrating what would have been Dr. Compton’s 108th birthday on August 1 was not held in person this year at the Compton Gardens and Conference Center in Bentonville AR. Rather, it is being celebrated as an on-line virtual event on the Peel Compton Foundation’s website featuring a video playlist of recorded interviews highlighting Dr. Compton’s life, legacy, and contributions to the community. The celebration website is: www.peelcompton.org Video interviewees include: Ken Smith, author of The Buffalo River Handbook Sarah Anne Shipley, great granddaughter of Dr. Compton Stewart Noland, past President of the Ozark Society, and, Ross Noland, Executive Director of the Buffalo River Foundation. In addition, there is a video clip of an interview with David Esterly who created the wood sculpture “Dr. Compton’s Letter Rack” which was displayed in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville AR in 2019, and an excerpt from Larry Foley’s documentary film, The Buffalo Flows. The Ozark Society, the Ozark Society Foundation, the Highlands Chapter, and the Sugar Creek Chapter are proud to have co-sponsored this annual event along with the Peel Compton Foundation.
The exploits of Harold and Margaret Hedges are given in some detail in Neil Compton's The Battle for the Buffalo River, which is available from the Ozark Society website. But here are a few memories we have of them. They purchased 700 acres in what is now the upper Buffalo River wilderness and built their dream home in 1968. When the national river was established in 1972, they sold their land to the National Park with no regrets since they had obtained a 25- year occupancy lease. But at least some of their neighbors were upset, and after several incidents of harassment their home was burned (arson) in 1990 while they were traveling to Mexico. They moved about 25 miles north to Harrison, AR, where Harold died at the age of 91 in 2008 and Margaret died at the age of 93 in 2010. Here is a story we received about the Hedges by Myra Lawrence and her husband, Cliff from Monroe, LA. “In July of 1976 we were canoeing on the Buffalo River. Our canoe overturned and though we were not harmed, Cliff lost a pair of blue jeans with money & credit card in the pockets, all held [...]
Fall General Meeting, 9 AM, at Lake Nixon, October 3, 2020 We currently plan a one-day meeting with board meeting in the morning and general meeting with election of officers in the afternoon, followed by a Compton Award recognition of Dana and Bill Steward. Lake Nixon is a church camp a few miles west of Little Rock with canoeing/kayaking on their private lake, hiking on site, and plenty of covered outdoor meeting space to accommodate social distancing. If you have an interest or know of a person who might be willing to serve on the OS board please contact one of the nominating committee members: Luke Parsch, Lowell Collins, or Alice Andrews. CAFO Moratorium In their haste to reject the temporary moratorium on medium and large swine CAFO’s in the Buffalo River Watershed, the Arkansas Legislative Council also rejected changes to regulation 6, which puts Arkansas in the potential awkward position of Federal regulations usurping state implementation for some aspects of the clean water act. There has been no public response from DEQ about a resolution of these issues but the deadline for action on the moratorium is September 19, 2020. Robert’s Gap Project www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53597 The Forest Service has a [...]