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 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) 


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


For more information, contact the Ozark Society Foundation Chair, Marvin Schwartz, at osfchair@ozarksociety.net.