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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.



HELP NEEDED TO RESTORE BUILDING!


SJCA has given CAMN a building on their grounds that we will use as storage (thus eliminating paying for a commercial storage and using member's personal storage as backup).  In addition, this building has space for a workshop.  However, for the building to be secure and usable, repairs must be made. 

 


Here's what Bill Toland has to say about the space: 

"The major benefit is CAMN having plenty of room for storage rent free saving the chapter $$ over the years. Having a space large enough to have a workshop to make Aldo Leopold benches, wildlife nesting boxes, Signage, and other educational props. My wife appreciates that this stuff is not stored in my garage for the first time in years!! Tired of Bert ringing the doorbell at 11 pm at night wanting a bird box ( and a glass of scotch).


In the process of getting what we need we help an important non profit ( SJCA) inch along in fulfilling their mission that benefits us all.


And now that the PMSP greenhouse project is self supporting we need a worthy project that our members can donate a small amount of their charitable budget to on a one time basis.
This will save us from voting on who is the “ most sympathetic looking member” who will have to beg on a street corner with a misspelled sign!"

 


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


Bridge Repair
Wildwood Park

Hurricane Laura caused a little havoc on our trails at Wildwood Park. More than a dozen trees down across the trails. One had a direct hit on one of the bridges.
All blowdowns were removed and two bridges were repaired.


Bridge Before
bridge after
Bob Pitts ( the guy who looks like a biker) is becoming our master bridge repair guy!! Bob


Bill Toland at Work
Bill Toland displays his prowess with hand tools.  


More Educational News





OUTREACH


Focus on CAMNation:

ANHC Volunteer Specimen Mounter:  

Linda Pneuman



I’ve been doing this for a few years.  I learned from Vera Bowie, the Naturalist Queen of mounting!  One of my undergrad majors is in biology and did a grad class in field botany where I collected, identified and mounted 100 specimens.  That was over 50 years ago so certainly not a requirement.  That experience did influence my interest in learning to do this.  I love the pairing of art and science in this work. Choosing an attractive placement of the specimen that leaves space for labels is fun and sometimes frustrating. Sometimes the work is solitary, sometime I work with Diana or an intern.  Of course, questions arise.  The Herbarium botanists are so patient and willing to help.  The lab is kept at 65 degrees - not bad when it’s hot outside.  Some specimens are years old. In the lab they are in old news papers.  I’ve had specimens from 1960s stored in Memphis Commercial Appeal  pages. Ads and articles bring back memories as I’m from Memphis.
If you like plants, are a bit artistic and don’t mind solitude and problem solving this is a great way to get volunteer hours, even in a pandemic. The herbarium offers several different volunteer and training opportunities.  Although, I’m set up to work at home I prefer being at the herbarium.


 


The table is back in mounting lab mode. The bridge placemat is one of several water proof ones I use under the purple sheet to protect my table.  The set up is similar to what I use at the herbarium.  I miss interacting with Diana, Bret and others who come in to use the microwave

 


Bin holds materials to put between thick mounted specimens, wax paper that goes between newly mounted specimens along with towels.  Mounted specimens are stacked.  At the end of a day’s work the stack is weighted with boards and a heavy box for several days. Then they are inspected and stabilized with special tape. Finally, they go back into the folder and placed in the finished pile


This is a specimen waiting to be mounted.  Dried and pressed specimens are stored in folded paper with initials of collector and a specimen number.  Above is a container for the dilute Elmers glue and large brush for applying glue to lucite sheet.  The specimen is first positioned on the paper, then placed in the glue and carefully lifted and with luck placed in an attractive arrangement on the paper.  Not easy with a delicate specimen.  Grasses are my nemesis.  Delicate aquatic plants can be a challenge.

 

 


lucite plate gets covered with dilute Elmers glue on the plate a piece if acid free paper and the label template.  The template is placed so the specimen doesn’t extend into that space.  Other areas must be left clear for Barcode and other labels.


Here is a mounted specimen with a seed packet and in the lower right corner the initials of collector and specimen number in the place where the printed label will go.  Above are tweezers, small brushes, a spray bottle, seed packets and stabilizing tape.  There’s a box of acid free mounting paper.

 









 













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SERVICE

 

UAM Herbarium Update



The Plants of Arkansas: skeletal records for our southernmost herbarium (Part 4) expedition completed overnight. Over the past 13 months, we've transcribed 27,597 skeletal records from the UAM herbarium.

I'll be inside for work tomorrow due to rain and look forward to processing this expedition to upload the data and capture the information we need to support our grant. Looks like I'll be able to meet the Sept 4 deadline from all your hard work!

 

I’ll prepare a collection summary for the UAM data you transcribed, too. I’m most excited about seeing the geographic distribution of all the specimens – it’ll be fun to make a map to share with you! Can you guess who collected the most specimens for the herbarium?

 

I’m off to work in my yard for the first time in weeks. It’s sopping wet from the huge thunderstorms that moved through last night, but it’s <80 degrees and time to start prepping for fall planting.

 

I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your weekend, and thank you again for so quickly finishing this expedition series.

 

With gratitude,

 

DIANA SOTEROPOULOS

Botanist / Arkansas Herbarium Digitization Coordinator

 

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