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Welcome To CAMN!

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 as well as dozens of other agencies and entities.

 

For 15 years, CAMN members have been stewards of the natural areas in Central Arkansas. We have educated the public and introduced 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 benefitted 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.

 


CAMN Decade Pavilion Grand Opening
Remarks by Janet Lanza

 

 

Wednesday, May 18 was a red-letter day, long in the making. The pavilion began as a germ of an idea in the brain of Richard Lawrence in 2015. He imagined it as a testament to the 10 years of efforts by the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists to improve the outdoor environment of Arkansas. It was thus termed the “CAMN Decade Pavilion Project.”

 

Richard, Bert Turner, and Bill Toland chose this spot for a pavilion because it was at the intersection of several trails and had—and has—a fabulous view of the Arkansas River. You can see for yourselves that they chose well.

 

Bert worked with the City of North Little Rock to secure approval, get the plans approved, and secure funding. We’re not sure, but we wonder if Bert’s efforts also led to a series of disasters and near-disasters. The disasters centered on that beautiful river—multiple floods! One deposited 3’ of sand on the River trail and huge logs right at this spot! But the community rallied. The City engineers, Pulaski County maintenance, the Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA cooperated to restore this area. The original pavilion design was scrapped. The partially constructed pavilion was destroyed. So the pavilion was redesigned and rebuilt. There are 16 yards of concrete under our feet so that this structure will withstand the ferocity of a 100-year flood.

 

Most recently the project was spear-headed by a CAMN committee appointed by Davis Thompson, currently serving as past-president of CAMN.

 

But the Grand Opening represents the power and persistence of CAMN, donors, and the organizations and their people.—overcoming, at least for now, the power of the river!

 

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in making this day and our celebration arrive.

Slideshow
AMN Pavilion Grand Opening
Decades Pavilion Sign
Decades Pavilion 2022

Fourche Creek

 

 

For more information and details, visit the Servicing Fourche Creek Catchment website:    

Servicing Fourche Creek



Donations accepted for boat upkeep and supplies
used for Fourche Creek Clean Up Events.


Donate Now!


Donations made to a specific project will be used only for that project. If a project ends with remaining funds, those funds will be placed in the General Project Fund and used for other CAMN projects.

Slideshow
Fourche Creek

Donate now for Arkansas Wild Spaces

Arkansas Wild Spaces (AWS) is a project of the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists designed to assist homeowners in Central Arkansas to 1) identify non-native invasive plants they should remove from their yards, and 2) suggest native plants for adding to improve ecosystem functions and increase wildlife populations.  We welcome your donation!  We use donations to provide handouts for homeowners, website setup and maintenance, and supplies. Volunteers run AWS and no funds are used for profit. Donations are 100% tax deductible. 

To apply, download the application, fill out and save, then email it to: 
arkansaswildspaces@gmail.com

Land Steward Application and Pledge

It takes 6-9,000 caterpillars to raise one clutch of chickadee babies.

Donate Now!

Arkansas Wild Spaces

JNC SJCA 2022 Dem Gaz
We made the paper!


2022 Junior Naturalists Camps

 

CAMN volunteers and others provided 2 Junior Naturalist Camps this year.  2022 was the 10th JN Camp at Wildwood Park.  Created and organized by Bill Toland in 2012, this camp has been offered during Spring Break each year to offer an outdoor leaning experience to local kids, aged 7 through 12. 

The Wildwood Camp hosted 30 kids, all of whom logged many miles of hikes through the Wild 40 and other trails, who made bird boxes and picture frames, who played and ran and had a great time.  In addition to Bill, other CAMN volunteers included NiTs, Ann Bleed (who was there ALL week!), Joan Meeks (who cleaned and organized the paints and stencils!), Paul Gosnell, Greg Short, Ari Remmel, Katie Mann, and Tom Utley.  Way to step up, Newbies!  Other members of CAMNation included Bob Pitts (2 place at one time, Bob), Nita Sheth, Kathy Boone, Lynn Jessup, Fritz Kahley, Scotty Scholl, and Nancy Deckard. 

 

Bob Pitts organized the 1st ever camp at SJCA, which hosted 22 kids.  Bob made good use of the 11 AmeriCorps folks who are in residence at St. Joe’s at the moment. With the help of CAMN mentors, Bob, Bill Toland, Ruth Landers and Fritz Kahley, the Americorps staff entertained and taught the energetic kids all week. 


Focus on CAMNation

We started this column because the pandemic was preventing us from meeting the members of the CAMN Board.  Now, however, we are doing more in person these days and we've covered almost everyone on the board.  We've considered dropping this feature, but we have received good feedback from readers about it and how much fun it is to read the "back story" of a fellow CAMN member.  So we decided to continue the column, shifting the focus away from the board and out to the real Movers and Shakers of the organization!

 

 

 

Getting to Know
Bill Toland
Bill Toland considers adding nest fiber to the menu but thinks better of it

Legend has it I’m in the WITSEC program, so I’ll go with my current name Bill Toland.

Relocating back to Little Rock sixteen years ago along with my wife Karen (the good kind and the brains of the family) after living along the east coast for 30 years, I needed a new start. Opened up the Arkansas Democrat Gazette one morning and noted a new organization that had just formed was taking on new volunteers for training….Central Arkansas Master Naturalists.

Just what I was looking for! An outdoor nature organization where I could apply my extensive knowledge of the outdoors (well maybe not too extensive).

After getting my degree in Biology (started out pre med but did too much partying!) I applied for a job in Colorado for some type of forest service position. There were 700 applicants. Hence a career of sales and marketing instead.

During our NIT time we all were wondering what kind of volunteer work we would be doing. No one had a clue at the time. So we started out shadowing the PMSP interpreters and learned how to lead nature hikes. Note that the park was hesitant in bringing in large school groups where our services would be required….they worried we might not show up! Needless to say we earned the right to be part of their team and have been ever since.

JNC Wildwood 2022 Shelter Building

Wildwood Kids find materials to build a survival shelter.

Photo by Ann Bleed

JNC SJCA 2022 Shelter Building with Jena

AmeriCorps member, Jena, helps the SJCA kids build a shelter.

Photo by Sandy DeCoursey

Bert Turner got us our first real trail building project …Pfeifer Loop . Like everything else we do, we learned the hard way how to do this. Bert convinced us that constructing this 2 mile plus trail would be a piece of cake ( hand tools, August heat and humidity, insect pest, poison ivy, years of trash, vines galore, sand, reeds, and no scenery). Got’er done, but no piece of cake though.  

Over the years we (CAMN) have provided many outdoor educational opportunities for school children (and adults too). I was lucky to have a grandfather who showed us kids a lot about the outdoors and had a dad that was an assistant Scout Master. I took my two boys hiking and camping when they were younger and had good times and miserable times but all memorable ( Note that they became good cooks as a result!).  My two grandkids have been exposed to camping with their dad also. Kids today don’t all have that luxury. They all learn something, more than you might think if you give them that opportunity to be exposed to nature. Our spring break Junior Naturalist Camp at Wildwood was a hit from the beginning. Not to mention the hundreds of programs we facilitated at PMSP, CANC, Audubon, etc. If these kids learn about our natural world they will learn to appreciate it, and one day, support the effort to be good stewards for the environment.

CAMN has a number of dedicated and committed members that do something. Be one of those and lead a project of your choice. You will feel even more like you are part of this big family.

Along with a few other CAMNers I tend to stick with outdoor projects that can make a difference in the long run. Trail maintenance, native plants, educational programs, habitat restoration, as examples. Has to be hands on though!

My wife says be out of the house before 8:00 am and be back to pour her a glass of wine at 5:00 pm. The secret to a long marriage!!


JNC Wildwood 2022 bird house Paul Bleed

Paul Gosnell helps a camper build a bluebird house.

Photo by Ann Bleed

JNC SJCA 2022 Shelter Building with Jena

Jason with AmeriCorps conducts an experiment with the St. Joe campers.

photo by Sandy DeCoursey

Toland_fam_xmas_2019_c.JPG

The Toland Family

Toland_wedding.JPG

Bill Cleans Up Well!

2022 NiT Training Classes


CAMN 2022 NiT Training Schedule

 

 

Educational Resources

Remote learning (Continuing Education) 


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CAMN Remote Learning Resources