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Arkansas Master Naturalists

HomeOld Foothills AMN


Who Are We? Together We Are Active Citizen Scientists.

We are students, teachers, professors, PHDs, MBAs, retired and not retired, artists, farmers, and more. We are a corps of well-informed, diversified and committed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural areas and resources. We live in Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pope, Van Buren, and White Counties, and beyond. .  

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Fish Camp and Stream Team Jr.

The forecast looked bad. It was going to be either blistering hot or torrential thunderstorms. Either way, the Arkansas Master Naturalists, Foothills Chapter, marched into this year’s Fish Camp at Collins Creek, Heber Springs with nets, tools, buckets, magnifying glasses, tweezers and flashcards to have the first ever Stream Team Jr.

The kids at the camp were immediately interested in what was about to happen and quickly gathered around Sam, a Certified Master Naturalist. He talked a while about water chemistry. He explained how dissolved oxygen and turbidity levels in the water affect wildlife such as fish. He said that it was good to monitor these levels but also a bug count was part of measuring the health of the water, after all, fish eat bugs! Sam continued on to tell the kids how some of the bugs turn into flying insects later on.
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Naturalists in Training Classes

In order to become a Naturalist, you must complete the training. We kick off the   “Naturalists in Training”  with a New Year’s Day Hike. This event will be held at Woolly Hollow State Park.

Actual classes begin in January, and conclude with graduation in June. The application form and class schedule are available here:

Foothills Naturalist in Training Application 2021

Foothills NiT Schedule 2021                             

New members have a lot of fun learning about everything from rocks to plants and animals found in the Ozarks. Experts teach classes in eco-regions, geology, astronomy, mammals, interpretation, entomology, herpetology, ornithology and botany. Field work helps develop practical skills like stream monitoring and trail maintenance. Students receive their own guidebooks in many fields.


But there are no exams. We learn by listening, observing and doing. We also schedule special advanced training classes in various topics for all members throughout the year.

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Exploring a Private Cave

Pure white soda straws. Remarkable gravity defying helictites. rare spherical stalactites. Those who explore the natural wonders of the Arkansas Ozarks, miles of unspoiled forests, lakes, rivers, and much more might not realize there is another wilderness just beneath the surface. Below scenic mountains, lush valleys, and clear running streams is an often dazzling underworld, the limestone caves of the Ozarks.

Visitors who venture beneath the surface will find subterranean lakes and streams, mazes, crystals, fossils, cave creatures such as blind trout and salamanders, and an array of formations with names like flowstone, helictite, stalagmite and stalactite.

Most of the Arkansas caves come with a story, usually about how the cave was discovered. Some swirl with legends and ghost tales. Still others recall the days when saber tooth tigers and ancient tribes used the caves for shelter or when desperados used the caves to hide from lawmen and from fellow criminals.

Arkansas, with its karst topography, has several beautiful show caves. Last spring Doug and Tammy Vaneman guided a group of Master Naturalists on a tour of a private bat cave.

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