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Central Arkansas Master Naturalists


Welcome To Our New Web Page

Central Arkansas is where it all began!  In 2006, at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, a need met a solution.  The need: trained volunteers who could help supplement the work of the Park Interpreters. The solution: a recently relocated Texas Master Naturalist, Tom Neale.  Together the park personnel and Tom created a training program, recruited the first class, and launched the program that has grown to encompass much of the state of Arkansas and has provided thousands of hours of volunteer support to state parks along with dozens of other agencies and entities. 


For 13 years, CAMN members have been stewards of the natural areas in Central Arkansas. We have educated the public and introduced the kids to the wonders of nature and the responsibility we all share in caring for it.  We’ve built trails, provided housing for birds, monitored the quality of rivers and lakes, picked up litter, removed invasive species, grown and planted native plants, and provided educated citizen scientists.   We’ve worked hard and we’ve had fun.  And the Natural State has benefited from it all. Come see what we do!


Our Mission

Our Mission:
To develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service
dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.



EDUCATION 

 
The Covid-19 pandemic has created a need for remote learning opportunities. New options will continue to be added.  See what's available!  

Remote Learning Resources

2020 Eagle Cruise
2020 CAMN NiTs had an opportunity to participate in an Eagle Cruise at Lake Maumelle on Feb. 1, thanks to PMSP Interpreter, Matthew Friant.    They also had a quick introduction to waterfowl - such tricky bird to identify - thanks to Neil Curry, former manager of the CANC! 

The bad news is that the eagles were hiding that afternoon, but Mathew made sure everyone saw the eagles’ nests and other interesting points on the lake.  There was a chance to identify some waterfowl, particularly the common loon and some Canada geese - seen here in a picture supplied by NiT Jana Marie.  

Lake Maumelle and Canada GeeseSuper Moon pic courtesy of Jana Marie
Super Moon pic courtesy of Jana Marie


CAMN Volunteers Dedicated to Preschool Nature Education 


Worm Art
LWOs Worm Art

Worm Race

Worm Race!!

A core of dedicated volunteers is responsible for a preschool education program offered at Pinnacle Mountain State Park.  These volunteers plan, organize and facilitate what is known as Little Wild Ones twice a month at the Visitors Center.  The program was started in 2012, by park interpreter, Maryanne Stansbury .  She reached out to CAMN to get some assistance for the program, which at the time was offered weekly.  Soon the group of volunteers grew and, after Maryanne left the park, this group took on the job of continuing to provide stories, crafts, games and other activities about natural things in the Natural State on their own. 

 

Through the years, the LWO Mavens have watched the children learn and demonstrate their understanding of nature.  We have seen our LWOs grow up and leave us for school.  We have seen their baby siblings  grow into Little Wild Ones.  We’ve honked like geese, spread our wings like eagles, and wriggled on the floor like worms.  We have sung, colored, cut, pasted, and bedazzled.  We’ve hidden acorns like squirrels, planted sunflower seeds, and explored the park and flowerbeds.  We’ve made butterflies out of coffee filters, armadillos out of Slinkies, and bird feeders out of pine cones and peanut butter.   We hope we have instilled love and respect for nature, for that has always been the underlying message. 

 

The current team includes Joellen Beard, Nancy Eddy, Nita Sheth, Fran Henderson, Faith Morrison, Becky Ward, Lynn Jessup, and Nancy Deckard. 


More Educational News






OUTREACH

GOVERNOR PROCLAIMS APRIL 20, 2020,

NATIVE PLANT WEEK

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Friday, April 17, 2020)—On February 10, 2020, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a proclamation that the week of April 20, 2020, is Native Plant Week. This recognizes the importance of native plants in bird-friendly communities and beyond.

Anyone can support wildlife by planting bird- and butterfly-friendly plant species for year-round food, cover and shelter. Regionally adapted or native plants have evolved with our local growing conditions and support local food webs. Gardens and landscapes composed of Arkansas’s native plants conserve water, save energy, and reduce pollutants and pesticides in comparison to turf grass. Further, some exotic ornamental plants used in landscaping escape into natural areas, where they outcompete native species and reduce biodiversity.

“Native plants are food for native insects that are food for our birds,” says Dr. Dan Scheiman, Bird Conservation Director for Audubon Arkansas. “With 96 percent of all terrestrial bird species feeding insects to their young, planting insect-proof exotic plants is like serving up plastic food. No insects? No birds.”

“Many native species are blooming now, so if you can do so safely, it’s time to get out to enjoy and explore their beauty and diversity across the Natural State,” said Susan Hardin, co-president of the Arkansas Native Plant Society. She is also heartened by the fact that “native plant nurseries are growing in number as the value of native plants are better understood by consumers.”

Native Plant Week proclamations have also been made by the mayors of Little Rock and Texarkana, as well as the property owners association of Hot Springs Village. These were signed with support from three local Audubon chapters: Audubon Society of Central Arkansas, Tex-Ark Audubon Society, and Hot Springs Village Audubon Society, respectively.

Anyone interested in incorporating native plants into their landscaping can consult National Audubon’s Plants for Birds database (audubon.org/plantsforbirds), which helps users find the best plants for the birds in their area.

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Media Contact: Dan Scheiman, Ph.D., Bird Conservation Director, dan.scheiman@audubon.org (501) 366-0840



Native Plant Week Proclamation 2020







2019 Recognitions




CAMNation enjoyed our holiday celebration with great food and conversation Thursday evening at the Nature Center.  As usual, out hosts and our Enhancinators outdid themselves.  58 people had certified and 27 folks had more than 100 hours! 
Bert Turner Almost Broke his 1000 Hour Record!
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Leading the pack of these overachievers are Angela Corlett with 416 hours, Dave Danner with 653 hours, Leann Floyd with 652 hours, Bill Toland with 654 hours and Bert Turner with 917 hours!  

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Thank you Gary, for a great job!


The 2020 CAMN Board was elected: 
President:  Reed Green
Outgoing Pres:  Gary Earleywine
President Elect: Davis Thompson
Secretary:  Sam Yates
Treasurer:  Peggy Trokey
Webmaster: Steve Hyatt
AMN Representative:  Diane Brownlee
Curriculum Chair:  Anne Holcomb
Project Coordinator: Lynn Foster
Reed_Green_613800216.jpg
Of course the big event of the night is revealing the new Master Naturalist of the Year (fondly referred to as the MNOTY Award).  The 2019 recipient is Reed Green who was stunned by the recognition, but very deserving because of all the projects he has taken on in only his 2nd year in CAMN.  Reed also received the President's Award from Gary Earleywine for his invaluable assistance this year.  Congrats, Reed!







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SERVICE



Waterfront Native Garden

New Native Garden

This is phase one of the native garden near the wetlands at Witt Stephens Nature Center.  It didn't quite get finished for Earth Day or Native Plant Week.
Thanks to Bill Toland and David Holcomb for doing the heavy lifting and the greenhouse team for providing the plants.
Katherine Becker

 

 


CAMN’s Greenhouse

Back in the early days of CAMN existence, we “fell heir” to a greenhouse on the PMSP grounds because one of our members/donors had provided funds to make some necessary improvements.  However, for many years CAMN struggled to make a go of this fabulous tool.  It seemed almost a curse instead of a benefit.  Everyone who signed on to manage the greenhouse got frustrated and left the job (and sometimes CAMN)!  Then along come Karen Seale, Nita Sheth and Bill Toland and the team they assembled.  Finally the greenhouse is a thriving source of native plants and a favorite volunteer job for many of CAMNation.  

In 2016, Karen Seale got the ball rolling with a team that cleaned, repaired and “de-forested” the greenhouse, and then met to sort, plant, label, and water donated seeds. The team met periodically to repot and nurture the newly germinating seedlings.  A thriving Native Plant source was taking root. 

In November of that year, Bill Toland led a group that met to sow some native perennial seeds to prepare for spring planting.  These plants were earmarked for various Butterfly gardens through the area.  A misting system had been added to the greenhouse to take care of the watering needs throughout the winter.   By March of 2017, the team was able to repot thriving young plants and also plant new native seeds – all of which were part of a bigger plan to improve native habitat in several areas CAMN supports. 

Thanks to the leaders who re-energized our membership around making use of the greenhouse, major renovations were completed in 2018.  Two hundred fifty man hours saw the greenhouse cleared of old PVC pipes, rotted wood, plastic sheathing, and other accumulated debris.  CAMN repaired the metal hoops, constructed an aluminum channel and stainless wiggle wire infrastructure, and installed new plastic sheathing, new metal doors, and quality roll up sides.  Bill credits previous experience at St Joseph Center of Arkansas watching the hoop house construction and YouTube videos with their ultimate success. 

By the end of 2018, the greenhouse team was preparing around 1400 pots with 10 different kinds of native plants in preparation for a spring Partners for Pinnacle plant sale.  Throughout the winter, the team monitored and attended the plants. 

In addition, the Arkansas Forestry Commission donated about 500 Dogwood seedlings that will winter in the greenhouse as they gain the size and strength needed for planting throughout PMSP. 

Greenhouse Update