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9 03, 2021

Enhancing your Ozark Experience with a Nature Journal

By |2021-03-09T14:29:37-06:00March 9th, 2021|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2021|Tags: |

For many of us the time we spend in the outdoors amounts to the best part of our busy lives. That has prompted me to invent ways to make those times remain with me as long as possible. One way to do that is by keeping a natural history journal. It could start with the very practical aspects of a small notebook with recorded dates such as the time when a favorite wildflower can be found in bloom in some secluded ravine, or the best date to see migrating raptors at your favorite mountain overlook. It is always useful to have such information available for future reference. My interest in nature journals started early during my days in New England where I enjoyed John Hay’s poetic calendar of the arrival of spring on Cape Cod (The Run). Then on to Thoreau’s famous journal while on sabbatical and exploring the woods around my rented home in areas adjacent to Walden Pond. I soon had my own personal copies of the Lewis and Clark journals while living in Montana, and then the Ozark and Ouachita journals of Schoolcraft and Nuttall after arriving in Arkansas. All of these serve as useful examples of [...]

9 03, 2021

Ozark Society Foundation News

By |2021-03-09T14:29:57-06:00March 9th, 2021|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2021|Tags: |

The second printing of Ozark Forest Forensics is completed. Published in 2019 and co-authored by Fred Paillet and Steve Stephenson, the book is once again available through our store. The authors are planning public programs for the book later this year. A second printing of “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas” is in process. The new field guide has had very strong sales and high public recognition, including citations from the Arkansas Senate and House of Representatives. The book also reached the top of an Amazon list, noted as the #1-selling new book in the nation in Botany. OSF will launch the Sassafras Award for Excellence in Environmental Writing next month. The award will be given to a literary work that addresses conservation issues in the areas where OS/OSF operates. The winner will be announced in early 2022. Finalist judge for the award is Davis McCombs, director of the University of Arkansas Creative Writing Program and a former park ranger at Mammoth Cave National Park. In addition, the Foundation Endowment Fund has been established with the Arkansas Community Foundation. And new activity is underway in the mammoth effort to digitize all OSF files from past and current projects and [...]

9 03, 2021

Update from the Conservation Desk

By |2021-03-09T14:30:13-06:00March 9th, 2021|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2021|Tags: |

Remembrance of Steve Wilson: Steve Wilson passed away February 21 in New Mexico.  He was a Norfork, AR resident for several years after his retirement from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.  Steve served as Director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for 21 years, shaping it into the organization it is today.  He was a very active member of the Ozark Society and was President of the OS, 1976-1978.  Steve and his wife Jo and their children hiked and paddled as often as possible, good or bad weather. Steve was a born leader as evidenced by the following career successes: He was District Wildlife Biologist for Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 1968-1969, Senior Environmental Scientist for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department 1972-1974, Assistant Chief of Highway and Transportation Dept. 1974-1979, Chief of AHTD's Environmental Division in 1979, Director of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 1979.   During his tenure at AG & F, he established the elk herd in the Buffalo River corridor, stocking 112 elk from Colorado from 1981 to 1985.  Then there is fishing! During Steve's term Arkansas developed into our country’s most popular destination to fish for trophy brown trout; Arkansas also became the inland [...]

9 03, 2021

Remembrance of Lil Junas

By |2021-03-09T14:30:27-06:00March 9th, 2021|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2021|Tags: |

Prize winning photo journalist Lil Junas, Ph.D. died December 11, 2020 in Pennsylvania at the age of 85. Her career was amazing: college sports information, university teaching, and photographic missions throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Central Asia and much more. She was also an avid canoeist and outdoors person, she tent-camped in all mainland US states, in Canada and the Yukon. She spent 4 years in Arkansas (1976-1980) as a photographer for the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper in Conway, AR. In 1973, the Ozark Society decided to publish books on various endangered Arkansas streams in hopes of exposing the scenic, geological, historical, fish and wildlife, educational and cultural values to the general public, emphasizing the need for preservation. Ken Smith’s Illinois River (1977) was the first in the series, and then Lil was asked to undertake Cadron Creek: A Photographic Narrative (1978) even though she had never been on the Creek. The threat for Cadron Creek at the time was the Soil Conservation Service proposal to put 23 dams on the Creek for the purpose of flood control, even though the amount of land flooded by the impoundments exceeded the amount of land saved from flooding. And as [...]

7 12, 2020

Middle Fork of the Salmon River

By |2020-12-07T12:34:58-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2020|Tags: |

OS Members can participate in a 100-mile trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho from July 29-August 3rd, 2021 with Aggipah River Trips. We have until January 1, 2021 to fill this 24-person trip, after which Aggipah will open the trip to others. For those riding with Aggipah the on-river cost is $2399 per person. For those riding in a private boat the on-river cost is $1686.50 per person. A 25% deposit ($600 or $422) is required before January 1st to hold the reservation. For more information on the trip and the address to send your deposit is: Aggipah River Trips PO Box 425 Salmon, Idaho 83467 Bill Bernt www.aggipah.com 208-756-4167 bill@aggipah.com Feel free to contact Stewart Noland at 501-831-8809 or stewartnoland51@aol.com with questions as well since he plans to participate in the trip and will help coordinate off-river logistics such as pre-trip lodging and vehicle shuttles.

7 12, 2020

High Points Part 11

By |2020-12-07T12:34:48-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2020|Tags: |

This is the eleventh episode of my trips to visit as many of the fifty US States’ highest points. This time it’s a week in the inter-mountain west to bag Idaho and Nevada in August of 2020. This trip was set up when my backpack on the John Muir Trail for July 2020 was canceled by COVID- 19. Mt. Whitney was to be the goal of that hike. This left me in shape but nowhere to go. I saw that no permits were needed for Idaho or Nevada, so I set this trip up as a replacement. The trip started on August 18th with a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah from Little Rock. I rented a small SUV with the ground clearance I would need for access to Nevada’s high point and got the hiking supplies I would need to do my attempt of Borah Peak, Idaho on the 20th. Flying during COVID was not too bad. You had to be aware of your surroundings and made sure you had stuff to eat on the plane as all they passed out was water and packaged snacks. The center seats were left open on the plane. Overall, I felt folks [...]

7 12, 2020

Growing Your Own Pawpaws

By |2020-12-07T12:38:29-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2020|Tags: |

The article Fred Paillet presented about pawpaws should be required reading for every Ozark Society member.  My estimate is that 95% of the population would not be able to identify this tree, and perhaps 99.99% have never had the pleasure of tasting the fruit.  It’s time for a change.  It’s time to grow your own and share the bounty. I had my first taste of a pawpaw on a hike down in the bowels of the West Prong of the Mountain Fork of the Mulberry River about 1988.  I was with Dr. Compton, and others, searching for virgin timber on a warm September day.  We turned to go up Wellcave Hollow when Dr. Compton pointed out lots of pawpaws on the forest floor. Being new to the Ozarks and never having seen a Pawpaw before, I picked one up for a taste. What a pleasant surprise on a September day, especially when you are thirsty.  What did I just taste?  Mango? Banana? Peach?  From that point on I was hooked on pawpaws. Later I found out that Dr. Compton had a grove of pawpaws growing on his property and he suggested I take a few and plant them at my [...]

7 12, 2020

The Mystery of the Ozark Oak Leaf Gall

By |2020-12-07T12:34:24-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2020|Tags: |

You see them in the leaf litter in late summer on hikes in our oak and hickory woodlands. They look like tan golf balls, complete with the stippled surface texture that helps golf balls fly a little farther than they would with a smooth surface. But these balls are light as a feather, with parchment thin skin and an array of cobweb like strings for an inner texture. Ozark hikers often wonder what sort of fruit these are and where they came from. It turns out these are but one of many different varieties of leaf gall created by insects as part of their life cycle. There are lots of different structures developing out of oak leaves when their growth process is hijacked by insect pests for their own purposes. More than 800 insect species create galls on oak twigs, and over 700 of them are wasps. These particular galls are so perfectly symmetrical that many observers figure they must be some kind of exotic fruit and not just a deformed oak leaf. Some leaf galls are not nearly as noticeable as the papery balls described here. In the case of the round “golf ball” structures in question we have [...]

7 12, 2020

Ozark Society Foundation Student Grant Opportunity

By |2020-12-07T12:38:49-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: News & Updates, Pack & Paddle, Winter 2020|Tags: |

The Ozark Society Foundation has selected the recipients of the 2020 OSF Youth Environmental Grants Program. The grants are awarded to organizations and schools that engage students in environmentalism and conservation projects. Priority was given to nonprofits who experienced an interruption to their revenue stream due to the pandemic. In 2020, the Youth Grants Programs awarded $10,000 in seven grants to regional programs in amounts ranging from $600-$2,000. The recipients include organizations and schools from urban and rural areas in Missouri and Arkansas: Learning with Iris, Acorn Elementary School, Mena, AR Students will build an iris garden at the 15-acre outdoor classroom. The iris garden will be used to teach life cycles, soil testing, reproduction, monarch migration, identify pollinators, graphing, art, and technology. Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE) Greater Ozarks Audubon Society, Springfield, MO. Students will attend a one-week environmental academy paired with year-round community improvement projects. Pineville Primary School Gardens, Pineville Primary School, Anderson, MO. Students will establish garden beds, bird feeders, a butterfly garden and plant trees to enhance environmental awareness among early childhood, special education, and primary classes. Butterfly Garden, Logan County “Old Jail” Museum, Paris, AR. Students will design, build, and maintain a butterfly [...]

7 12, 2020

Ozark Society Foundation News

By |2020-12-07T12:33:52-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2020|Tags: |

Much has been going on for the OSF. The youth grant program is underway, and “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas” is published. To get the youth grants started, board member Roslyn Imrie worked with community partner volunteers to define the grant criteria and select the best projects. For the trees book, board member Ken Leonard worked with the authors to complete the large manuscript and coordinated with state agencies and donors for resources and support. Both projects were well received by the public because they are clearly linked to our mission of education. The trees field guide continues the OSF tradition as a publisher of books. And the grants program introduces a new focus on youth engagement in conservation. Two additional activities are planned, the OSF Endowment Fund and the award for excellence in environmental writing. The Endowment Fund will assure our organization has longevity well into the future. The Endowment Fund will be part of an updated OSF financial strategy for annual budget and investment decisions. The award for excellence in environmental writing is planned for launch in March 2021, avoiding competing for public attention with the new book. Board membership has changed recently. Rex Robbins has [...]