6 09, 2023

End of Year Planning and Giving

By |2023-09-07T10:58:28-05:00September 6th, 2023|Categories: Fall 2023, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President Year-end planning and giving ideas: In addition to our ongoing conservation work, The Ozark Society has enjoyed other recent notable achievements. Consider our Youth Grants program, designed to provide environmental education for the next generation. The “First River” documentary has also been a resounding success and has appeared several times on Arkansas Public Television. Our Sassafras Hiking Award is challenging Arkansans to get out and enjoy our exceptional trails. And let’s not overlook recent publications such as “Letters to Dan,” and “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas.” As these programs require funding, we hope you will consider The Ozark Society in your end of year planning. Donations to The Ozark society can be directed to any of the following spending categories: Conservation, Legal, Youth Grants, or Endowment Fund. Here is the link: www.ozarksociety.net/donations/ Or you can also add a donation while you renew your membership for 2024: www.ozarksociety.net/membership/ Below are some additional giving strategies that can save you tax dollars. Tax free giving from RMDs. If you are subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA or 401k, any charitable contribution from those funds is not taxed as income to you. [...]

24 05, 2023

The National Forest Decisions – You Can Make a Difference

By |2023-05-24T15:41:03-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2022|Tags: |

By Tom McClure, OS Conservation Co-chair       We have all inherited 2.6 million acres of national forest land here in Arkansas. That’s 7.6% of the land area of the entire state, which is 34 million acres.  These lands are a treasure, impacting our lives in so many positive ways.  For a good portion of us, these wonderful places are firmly tied to our sense of well-being, and our hopes and dreams for the future.  We want the “The Natural State” to live up to its motto over the long term.   We know and appreciate what the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests have meant to us in our lifetimes, and we want them to be here, in good shape, for generations to come.          These lands house much of the state’s biological diversity.  Our native plants and animals dwell here, in a variety of habitats.  Some of these species are rare and need special attention from us to help assure their survival into the future.  These forests maintain elaborate ecosystems that we are still trying to understand.  They provide a place to learn about nature and a place to learn about our relationship with [...]

24 05, 2023


By |2023-05-30T12:51:09-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Alice Andrews, OS Conservation Co- Chair I am inspired and excited to report on environmental concept, referred to as “Personhood”. To quote Claire Parish’s article in The Varsity (University of Toronto’s Student Newspaper), “Rivers aren’t people…but what if we acted like they were?” What makes a person? For example, is it possible for something inanimate to be a person? Environmental personhood clarifies that environmental beings have intrinsic worth, that they have value beyond just their impact on humanity. It is not that people have a right to clean air, but that the air has a right to be clean. The legal concept is both very new and very old, and is rapidly gaining ground around the world: Ecuador, Colombia, India, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Canada, Switzerland, Colorado and a few other states in the U.S. Colorado’s Uncompahgre River has a legal Personhood Resolution, flowing with legal rights through several towns without the potential worries of being polluted or dammed. The legal challenges can be and are difficult but the above-named countries have had great successes. Environmental personhood can be traced to a 1972 paper by Professor Christopher D. Stone, titled “Should trees have standing?” Stone proposed that environmental beings like [...]

24 05, 2023

Zombies in the Ozarks

By |2023-05-24T15:31:21-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair You read that right – there are a few zombies on the loose in the Ozarks. By zombies we mean functionally dead creatures with their nervous systems taken over by alien life forms and programmed to do the bidding of those new masters. In high school biology you may remember hearing about one of nature’s ecological cruelties in the form of wasps that parasitize caterpillars. The female wasps do this by stinging the caterpillar to paralyze the bug, and then depositing eggs injected into the still living body. The wasp larvae then mature by eating the living flesh of their helpless victim. The process of ecological success through such a parasitic process has reached its ultimate form in the zombie ant fungus of the genus Ophiocordyceps. This fungus disseminates spores that infect ants but not to simply digest them. The fungus first takes over the ant’s nervous system to program the ant zombie to become the ideal fruiting body for the dissemination of spores. The ant is programmed to climb to the highest point it can manage so that the spores eventually produced can be exposed to the wind to ensure that they [...]

24 05, 2023

Climate Change Part 1: What Can a Person Do?

By |2023-05-24T15:25:31-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Laura Timby, Climate Change Committee It’s on the news everywhere, all the time. Dire predictions regarding the results of Climate Change also referred to as Global Warming. Not everyone agrees on whether its real or some made up scare tactic, but the general consensus of the Scientific Community is that it is real and happening, regardless of what it is called. Rarely a day passes without some news report of increasingly devastating storm events. Whether it is an unimaginably fierce hurricane or tornado, catastrophic flooding, frequent devastating earthquakes, deadly droughts, new records snowfalls, or soaring temperatures that threaten all life on earth, as we know it, it appears to be occurring with increased frequency. Disturbing? Frightening? Yes indeed, and on a scale that makes an individual wonder what they can possibly do to stop or slow the progression of this trend? Margaret Mead was a well-known American cultural anthropologist in the 60’s and 70’s. One of her more publicized quotes goes like this: “Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has." Wow! What a powerful and intriguing message. It gives me goose bumps! Very [...]

24 05, 2023

In Memoriam: Wellborn Jack Jr.

By |2023-05-24T15:21:10-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Carolyn Shearman and The Shreveport Times Wellborn Jack Jr. passed away April 4, 2023. He was born in Shreveport on July 23, 1936. He attended Barrett Elementary, Broadmoor Jr. High and Byrd High School. He graduated from LSU and LSU Law School where he was named Editor in Chief of the Law Review. He began the practice of law with his father in Shreveport in 1963. Wellborn had a brilliant mind and a passion for the law. He had an unparalleled commitment to his clients. He was included in “The Best Trial Lawyers of America” collection. Of all the cases he tried in his over 50 years as a trial attorney, two of them especially stood out. He was the first in the country to obtain, in a violent case, a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict based upon PTSD from the Vietnam War. He also defended a member of Earth First in an environmental conspiracy case in AZ. Wellborn was a life-long environmentalist. He was instrumental in creating the Caney Creek Wilderness Area, the first designated wilderness area in AR. He obtained a temporary restraining order to stop the dam ultimately built on the Cossatot River. [...]

24 05, 2023

Legislative Update: House Bill 1706 – To transfer the authority related to liquid animal waste management systems

By |2023-05-24T15:17:32-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President This recently approved legislation is about moving the permitting of hog farms from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC). Back in 2019, there was similar legislation introduced as a result of the C&H Hog Farms controversy. ANRC is a farmer friendly agency established in dustbowl days to assist farmers with the conservation of topsoil. They serve an important purpose, but they are more aligned with farmer’s interests than evaluating permits or conducting enforcement. The goal was to have ANRC rewrite the regulations to be more favorable to hog farms, possibly in a way that would protect C&H. That early legislation fell apart when EPA expressed an unwelcome interest. This year, HB1706 was introduced with the same purpose as the failed 2019 bill, in that it would move permitting from ADEQ to ANRC. The new bill was sponsored by DeAnn Vaught of District 87 (Horatio). Representative Vaught, a senior house member serving on several committees, also raises hogs as part of her farming operation. Surprisingly, the Governor’s Office did not support Vaught’s bill, primarily because ANRC would be required to hire their own legal, geological, and [...]

3 03, 2023

The Sassafras Hiking Award

By |2023-03-04T11:59:05-06:00March 3rd, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2023|Tags: |

By Stewart Noland and Brian Thompson The Sassafras Hiking Award is a new form of recognition that the Ozark Society has established. It is given for individuals who hike all four major regional trails: The Ouachita Trail – Talimena State Park OK to Pinnacle Mountain State Park AR, 223 miles The Ozark Highlands Trail – Lake Fort Smith to Woolum and Spring Creek to Matney Knob, 196.6 miles The Buffalo River Trail – Boxley to Pruitt, 37 miles + Woolum to Dillard’s Ferry, 42 Miles The Ozark Trail – Western Trailhead of Eleven Point Section to Onondaga Trailhead, 217.5 miles Once hikers complete all four trails, they may contact the Ozark Society at: www.ozarksociety.net/ozark-society-awards-grants-scholarships/os-sassafras-hiking-award/sassafras-hiking-award-registration/ to complete the registry form and submit $10 to cover the cost of shipping the award.  The Sassafras Hiking Award is an original design created by Little Rock ceramic artist Katherine Purcell.  Each individual award has its own distinctive sequential number. The Ozark Society will maintain a numerical registry of all Sassafras Hiking Award recipients on its website. A biography of Wade Colwell winner of the first Sassafras Hiking Award by Stewart Noland The first Sassafras Hiking Award recipient is Wade Colwell. Wade is an [...]

3 03, 2023

An Ozark Mystery Lost in Deep Geologic Time

By |2023-03-03T11:45:54-06:00March 3rd, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2023|Tags: |

By Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair Mysteries have always been of great interest to readers, and we have a fascinating example of a mystery right here in our Ozark Mountains that relates to the rocks under our own feet – and even has a possible biblical implication. If you were stuck on US 71 in Bella Vista before the I-49 bypass was opened or have hiked past some of the rock shelters along the Back Forty trails you have seen the near vertical walls of layered limestone forming steep cliffs. Geologists call this the St Joe member of the Boone Limestone deposited about 300 million years ago. That was during what we hear of as the Coal Age when vast swamplands of primitive plants covered the lowlands east of the Ozark Plateau. Our area was often covered by shallow seas where rivers draining those swamps spread deltas over those sea sediments to form sandstone ledges, we see at places like Pedestal Rocks in the Boston Mountains. No mystery in any of that so far. But what still puzzles geologists and occasionally provides fodder for creationists, is the deep black layer of slate-like rock exposed at the base of those [...]

2 03, 2023

Gravel Bar Migration, Climate Change, and Mussels on the Buffalo

By |2023-03-03T11:38:19-06:00March 2nd, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2023|Tags: |

By David Peterson, Ozark Society Past President Gravel bar migration: The Buffalo River and its tributaries are a dynamic system. Streambank erosion occurs on the outside of loops where the current is strongest and the debris is deposited on the inside of downstream curves where the current is less, hence gravel bar migration (see above, Calf Creek near Tyler Bend). Over time these loops expand, multiple bars can form, which eventually degrade and reforest when the river creates a new channel. Old channels and gravel bars can be seen everywhere in the Buffalo River flood plain when you walk away from the river. Upstream migration can also occur as bank cover and trees erode. On the right is a dramatic documentation of this process on the Mississippi over the last 8,000 years in 500-year increments. Each loop had its system of gravel bars which subsequently were degraded by the next flood or channel relocation. While basic physics governs these structures, over time specific future predictions are impossible. If a historical study were made of the Buffalo River a similar map might occur except for local geography and scale: the river is smaller, the valley walls constrain the meanders, the [...]


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