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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

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 

[Photo: The CAMN 2019 NiT Botany Class visits a nepheline syenite glade

Naturalist-in-Training (NiT) classes begin the third Saturday of January and run through the first or second Saturday of May.  Each Saturday is divided into two 3-hour sessions, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., and 
12:30-3:30 p.m., with a 30-minute lunch break in between.  NiTs are required to attend 40 hours of the 80-some odd hours of training offered in order to graduate in mid-May.

Subjects covered vary from year to year but include many of the following:  Eco-regions of Arkansas, geology, archaeology, water systems, FrogWatch, weather/Stormwatcher certification, herps, fish, mammals, insects, birds, trees, botany, invasive species, natural areas, stream team, trail building/maintenance, and more. The classroom setting changes from week to week. Venues include the Witt Stephens, Jr. Central AR Nature Center in downtown LR, the Pinnacle Mountain State Park Visitor's Center, AR Natural Heritage Commission, the Archaeology Station on Petit Jean Mountain, Audubon AR, and others.

Once a NiT graduates in mid-May, he or she has the option of becoming a certified Arkansas Master Naturalist. This requires an additional 40 hours of volunteer work and 8 hours of advanced training. 

Interested in joining? You'll find an application form and a class schedule here. Have questions about the program?  Contact Anne Holcomb.  Applications for 2020 will be taken beginning September 15. Deadline for applications is December 31, 2019.




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OUTREACH

CAMN Booth at the
River Valley Horticultural Center
Fall Festival 2018

Saturday, Oct 6th, we enjoyed a warm but windy day at River Valley Horticulture's Fall Festival. We passed out a lot of milkweed packets and got to meet a few new people who will hopefully look into being a NiT soon!

Thank you to River Valley Horticultural for providing this opportunity for us to share our mission with our community. It was a really nice day to spend with fellow CAMN members and others at the festival. Plus the Pineapple Whip at the Food Truck was awesome!!


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SERVICE


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. 



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