History and Mission

The Ozark Society was founded in 1962 as an organized effort to save the Buffalo River in northern Arkansas from proposed dams.  After a ten-year struggle, the Buffalo River was designated as America’s first National river in 1972.  The publication of Kenneth L. Smith’s The Buffalo River Country in 1967 introduced the public to the beauty and story of the Buffalo River and provided visual documentation to support the establishment of the National river.

The Ozark Society Foundation was subsequently formed in 1976 to support other publications on the natural environment and to further promote the Ozark Society’s aims of Conservation, Education and Recreation.  The Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization created for “charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes” in the pursuit of the conservation and preservation of natural resources. The Foundation, governed by a volunteer board, is a major publisher of high-quality conservation and nature-related books about the Ozark-Ouachita mountains region in Arkansas and surrounding states, with all proceeds supporting the mission of the Foundation.

Since 1967 more than 25 publications have been produced by the Ozark Society and the Ozark Society Foundation.  Notable titles (many of which are now out of print) include Ken Smith’s Illinois River; Carl Hunter’s Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of Arkansas; Carl Hunter’s Wildflowers of Arkansas; and Neil Compton’s The High Ozarks: A Vision of Eden.  Neil Compton’s The Buffalo River in Black and White (1997; still available at the Ozark Society Store) is a photographic essay of Ozark Society founder Compton’s visual “take” on the Buffalo National River. 

Ozark Society Foundation Youth Environmental Engagement Grant

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. OSF wants to see projects that start with the community and start with the young people. Funds will range between $500 and $2000 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 nonprofits or school located in Arkansas, Oklahoma, or Missouri. 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 Requirements:

All grant projects should align with the Ozark Society’s mission: Our principal purpose is the preservation of wild and scenic rivers, wilderness, and unique natural areas.

  • All grant projects should engage youth in some way.
  • Applicants should be associated with a 501c3 organization or  an accredited K-12 school (Checks will not be made out to individuals.)
  • Only organizations based in Arkansas, Oklahoma, or Missouri can apply with projects based in the Ozark or Ouachita eco-region.

Preferences will go to:

  • Projects that  include hands-on learning, service projects, and/or tangible outcomes. OSF wants to see active engagement, not passive learning.
  • Nonprofits who had experienced an interruption to their revenue stream due to the pandemic
  • Small nonprofits with under 25 (FTE) employees or an annual budget of less than $500,000
  • Organizations with a mission that is based in the Ozarks or in Arkansas
  • Organizations that are NOT funded by county, state, or federal government
  • Projects that engage students in lasting conservation efforts that will have long term outcomes
  • Projects that serve marginalized communities, low income families, communities of color, and diverse ethnic groups.

Areas of Focus: (grants are not limited to these areas of focus but we are interested in funding these types of projects, especially the first 5 on this list)

  • Preservation of Wild Spaces
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Water Quality
  • Native Plants
  • Enhancing Access to Nature
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Community Gardens
  • Sustainability Focused Community Art

Who OSF will not fund:

  • Direct grants to individuals
  • Political campaigns, events, or lobbying activities
  • Projects serving religious purposes
  • Any use not specified in the grant proposal and budget
  • Organizations or schools who are not in the region local to the Ozarks
  • International organizations based outside the United States
  • Schools, colleges, and educational organizations
  • Organizations that are fully funded by county, state, or federal tax dollars

 Timeline:       

  • Applications open August 1, 2020
  • Deadline for applications is midnight on September 19, 2020
  • Award notification announced October 17, 2020.
  • Funds will be distributed in late October 2020
  • Final grant reports will be due by October 16, 2021.

Application Requirements:

  • Application must be filled out and submitted by the deadline.
  • Applications should be submitted through Google Forms (you do not need a google account to fill out the form)
  • Questions can be emailed to the head of the student engagement committee at:  youthgrants@ozarksociety.net

Application contains these fields:

  • Name and Address of organization or school
  • Tax exempt ID Number (if applicable)
  • Contact name, email, phone number
  • Student-led projects will also need a teacher or sponsor with name, email, phone number listed.
  •   Project Name
  •  Area of focus
  •  Project date range
  • Number of students who will be engaged
  •  Age range of students
  • Demographic or Ethnic Diversity of the students who will be engaged
  •  Amount requested
  • Project Summary: Explain the project as well as the need
  • Goals and Objectives: Both your short-term plan and long term outcomes
  • Student Engagement: As it pertains to both the Outputs and Outcome
  • Continuation: How the project will continue after the grant money is gone.
  • Budget Summary: Provide a short summary of how the funds will be used
  • Evaluation and Impact: Explain the lasting impact of the Project and how success will be evaluated
  • An attached Budget (see budget example)
  •    Signature

Reporting:

Projects can take place during the 2020-2021 school year and/or during the summer of 2021.  Within 60 days of the completion of the project, the grant report should be submitted for review and approval.  Reports will be due at the end of the 2021 summer and should include:

  • An impact report that describes the scope of the project
  • A description of how the objectives of the grant were achieved
  • A budget report detailing how the funds were used
  • Description of how the Ozark Society Foundation was recognized
  • At least one photograph of the project in action
  • At least one example of students’ work or engagement

If the grant requirements were not met and the report does not show that the funds were used as the grant outlines, the Ozark Society Foundation may ask for a partial or full reimbursement of the grant funds.

Links to Apply:

Click HERE to view the Budget Example

Click HERE TO APPLY for the grant through Google Forms (you do not need a Google Account to apply)

Helpful Definitions:

  • Goal: Overall aim the project will help achieve, which may be longer-term and extend beyond this grant.
  • Objectives: Specific, measurable implementation steps within the grant period that will help realize the goal.
  • Outcomes: The quantitative or qualitative change that you expect to happen as a result of the grant.
  • Outputs: Direct and short-term results of activities which are necessary but not sufficient to produce the targeted outcomes.
  • Sustainability: the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance:
  • Conservation: the careful utilization of a natural resource in order to  preserve and protect them through prudent management

For more grant information, contact the Ozark Society Foundation at youthgrants@ozarksociety.net

Ozark Society Foundation Publications

Ozark Society Foundation publications can be purchased through the Ozark Society Online Store or through a book retailer of your choosing.

The following books are available:

Ozark Forest Forensics, 1st edition, Frederick Pallet and Steven Stephenson, (2019)

Buffalo River Handbook, 2nd edition, Kenneth L. Smith (2018)

Arkansas Butterflies and Moths, 2nd edition, Lori A. Spencer (2014)

The Diana Fritillary, Arkansas’s State Butterfly, Lori A. Spencer (2011)

The Battle for the Buffalo River: The Story of America’s First National River, Dr. Neil Compton (2010 re-print partnership with the University of Arkansas Press of Neil Compton’s 1992 Battle for the Buffalo River: A Twentieth-Century Conservation Crisis in the Ozarks) 

Donations

The Foundation welcomes charitable donations in support of the Ozark Society’s mission of conservation, education and recreation, and, in turn, supports activities and research related to the natural resources of the region.  The Foundation appreciates individual donations, gifts in honor or memory of someone, corporate matches for individual employee giving, as well as corporate and personal foundation grants.  The Foundation supports such activities as local natural resources research projects, outdoor activities for school-aged children, building and maintenance of hiking trails, and partnerships with other non-profit environmental organizations.

You can donate to the Ozark Society Foundation online here or mail donations to:
Ozark Society Foundation
Ken Leonard, Treasurer
P. O. Box 2914
Little Rock, AR 72203