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Date: 9/30/2019
Subject: NWAMN October Newsletter
From: Jim Klinger

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Working to Keep Arkansas

in its Natural State


Newsletter of the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists

Inspiring a Love of Nature   |   Citizen Scientists   |   Stewards of Nature     Educating All Ages 

Plant Sale!!

Excellent turnout for the Plant Sale.

For our most recent plant sale on September 3rd (to Washington County Master Gardeners) and September 4th (to the general public, we sold 690 potted plants and collected about $4500 (final total  earnings pending completed accounting by our treasurer).  

We offered more than 100 different species of plants for sale (everything from asters to violets).  It is difficult to tell which plants were the most popular, but plants that we sold a lot of at this sale were:  asters, beautyberry, coneflowers, late figwort, frost weed, purple meadow rue, columbine, spicebush, penstemon, beebalm, cardinal flower, brown-eyed Susan, milkweed and goldenrod. The success of this sale was possible only because of all the energetic, knowledgeable, and hard-working Master Naturalist volunteers. In addition to folks who prepared materials that were used for the plant sale, more than 20 Master Naturalist volunteers worked to prepare and conduct the plant sale. 

Of course, there were many more volunteers who helped to propagate and grow the plants that we sold at the sale.  

As part of our mission to disseminate native plants into the environments of Northwest Arkansas, we have donated in excess of 350 plants to the following organizations and projects: Buckingham Trailhead in Bella Vista, Ozark Natural Science Center, Lake Wedington State Park, Devil's Den State Park, Eureka Springs Native Plant Gardens, Washington County Master Gardeners, Shiloh Museum, a class offered by Master Naturalists for the Oscher Lifelong Learning Institute, and the native plant gardens at the Frank Tillery Elementary School in Rogers. 

And...we had lots of fun working and learning together!    

- Rose Gergerich

happy customer leaving the Plant Sale.
Vicky Johnson, Gloria Tran, and Michael Shah.

iNaturalist - Citizen Science

iNaturalist Project Landing Page

At September’s Chapter Meeting, Audrey Weymiller introduced the concept of Citizen Science and why it's so important for  laypeople to add data to scientific projects. There are many projects in search of data, and Sim Barrow gave a talk on iNaturalist, one of the most widely used.  iNaturalist provides a place to record and organize nature findings, meet other nature enthusiasts, and learn about the natural world. It encourages the participation of a wide variety of nature enthusiasts, and the iNaturalist community helps the user expand their knowledge of the natural world while contributing valuable information. Through connecting these different perceptions and expertise of the natural world, iNaturalist hopes to create extensive community awareness of local biodiversity and promote further exploration of local environments. 


At the end of Sim’s talk Cheryl Larson revealed some exciting news about iNaturalist.  She has created an iNaturalist Project just for NWAMN. The purpose of this project is for NWA Master Naturalists to collect observations on the biodiversity of Northwest Arkansas, and to share observations with partner agencies and projects, to help them gather data for their studies. 

We already have many observations and species and we’re just getting started.  If you are already using iNaturalist make sure to join this project. You can make an account HERE and then search for the project NWA Master Naturalist Observations. There are also other local projects you can join that  would appreciate your help. 


For other ideas for Citizen Science contributions, check out AMN's Citizen Science page.  NWAMN member Sonya Zimmer, a very active iNaturalist user, says  "I really believe in its potential as a citizen scientist project to provide data points for researchers / environmentalists / conservationists, as well as a personal growth opportunity for users in learning species.  It has become my Naturalist Journal."  


If you are not on iNaturalist you should check it out and give it a spin. It is a GREAT additional tool to use in flora and fauna identification. Time spent on iNaturalist can be counted as volunteer or as continuing education time.

Book Club News

The book club meets the third Thursday of the month at the Shiloh Museum General Store in Springdale from 6-8PM. 


The Book Club selections are: 

October - Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects by  Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

November -The Wilderness World of John Muir: A Selection from His Collected WorkEdited by Edwin Way Teale


 Volunteer Opportunities

Make sure to check out the volunteer opportunities.  There are TOO many to list so check out the NWAMN Calendar HERE for all the great and varied opportunities.  (NOTE:  Log into your NWAMN account to see the full calendar of events.)


Fun Acorn Facts for Kids 

(or kids at heart)


FACT:  The acorn crop in an oak forest can reach hundreds of pounds per acre in a good year, when one mature tree can yield 15,000 nuts or more.  Like wine, acorns can be divided into two groups: red and white oak. Also similar to wine, the red varieties have more tannins (bitterness), while white oak acorns are sweeter. You can identify the red oak acorns by their pointed lobes; they differ from the white acorns’ rounded lobes.


FACT:  Bluejays and Woodpeckers are prolific acorn eaters.  Blue jays usually carry several acorns at one time in their beaks and mouths. Then they bury the acorns in one spot in the same general area, usually along forest edges or lines of trees. Blue jays will also eat other nuts and small creatures, such as caterpillars or worms. 

Member Profiles

Lori and Darryl Rice

Lori and Darryl were born in California and moved to Arkansas two years ago.  They became Master Naturalists in 2018 and have been involved in various volunteer projects such as Beaver Lake water testing, blue bird nest box monitoring, mentoring NITS this year and Secchi Day.  


Living adjacent to Hobbs State Park and hiking and biking the trails on an almost daily basis they find themselves compelled to be good stewards of their own backyard.  They have primarily focused their volunteer efforts at Hobbs.  Among other things Lori and Darryl have adopted a trail that they maintain, monitor game cameras, help out at the Visitor Center and are currently driving and interpreting Sunset Cruises.


Hobbs has become like home to them and they feel so blessed and thankful to be a part of the conservation of a state park.  Lori says “Becoming Master Naturalists has enriched our lives in countless ways and been one of the best things we've ever done!”  There are many of us who feel the same about our decisions to become Master Naturalists.

Recipe of the Month

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Recipe and photo of Fall Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) courtesy of Jay Pitts - Class of 2019


YIELD - Makes 6 first-course servings 

ACTIVE TIME - 1 hour

TOTAL TIME - 1 hour


9 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 1/2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms (such as cèpe [porcini], hen of the woods, chanterelle, or stemmed shiitake); large mushrooms sliced, small mushrooms halved or quartered

7 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)

1 1/4 cups arborio rice (8 to 9 ounces)

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup dry white vermouth

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving (optional)


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add 1/4 of mushrooms and sprinkle with salt.

Sauté mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Working in 3 more batches, repeat with 6 tablespoons butter,      remaining mushrooms, and salt and pepper.

Bring 7 cups chicken broth to simmer in medium saucepan; keep warm.

Melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat.

Add leek, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4      minutes.

Add white wine and vermouth and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add 3/4 cup warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more,      until rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes.

Stir in sautéed mushrooms.

Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more,      until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, if using.

Transfer risotto to serving bowl.

Pass additional Parmesan cheese alongside, if desired.

And if this recipe spikes your interest in foraging for your own mushrooms...


October 5, 8am - Mushroom Walk at Lake Wedington. Master  Naturalist, Jay Pitts, will lead an informative edible mushroom walk at Lake Wedington to identify edible mushrooms available in pine and hardwood forests. There will be poison ivy and ticks to contend with so keep that in mind and wear protective clothing and insect repellent. RSVP for Oct. 5th to Jay at: If the weather is dry and there are no mushrooms on the 5th, we will try again on Oct. 13th. Jay will email those who RSVP so we know if mushrooms are growing on those dates. 

Buckingham Trailhead Beautification

Have you ever walked or driven by a location scores or hundreds of times and said to yourself “Someone should do something about that eyesore.”  Well, Nancy Dugas-Gilmore went by one of those locations many times in Bella Vista called Buckingham Trailhead and thought there was something that could be done.  So, Nancy enlisted the help of several Bella Vista Master Naturalists to design plant beds, obtain approvals from the land owner and then execute on the plan.  

The trailhead is owned by the Bella Vista Property Owners Association and after several meetings Nancy was able to secure approval from the POA to beautify this area.

The design consists of three beds bordered by landscape timbers. 

From there Nancy reached out to Warren Fields  and he said that NWAMN would provide the plants. 

In mid April,  the Electric, Water and Telephone companies came out and performed their surveys.

June 11, 2019 Nancy took the proposal to the NWAMN board meeting and the project was awarded money for the completion of the project. 

Emily Robertson and Cheryl Hall met with Rose Gergerich and decided on what plants should be planted. 85 plants were provided for the fall planting with more to come in the spring. 

Topsoil for the 3 beds was paid for and delivered by the POA and T H Rogers of Bella Vista donated an additional 1/2 yard of topsoil


With the help of many Master Naturalists’ hands the area has been transformed from an eyesore to a showcase for what the NWAMNs can do and in collaboration with the landowner.  This trailhead is VERY popular with mountain bikers and hikers and with an attribution sign to be posted in the future anyone those who stop by this trailhead will see that the NWAMNs were the ones to create this little spot of beauty.

Click HERE to see more photos from this project.

NWAMN Volunteers consisted of:

Care Butler

Dana Downing

Dave Downing

Nancy Dugas-Gilmore

Kim Eveland (and her husband Skeeter) 

Cheryl Hall (and her husband Don)

Denise Klinger

Jim Klinger

Glenna Pickens

Trish Redus

Emily Robertson

Steve Sampers

Steve Sanders

Deb Shoemaker

Wayne Stewart 

Gracie Turley (and her husband Russ)

B.J. Westhoff 

Buckingham Trailhead “Before.”


NWAMN crew hard at work. 

Buckingham Trailhead "After."

Kim Eveland, Denise Klinger, BJ Westhoff, and Trish Redus taking a well deserved break.

Bella Vista Fall for All Festival


Monarch Release

The city of Bella Vista celebrated the Fall for All Festival September 14 and of course the Master Naturalists had a presence there.  In addition to gathering a small handful of people interested in possibly becoming Master Naturalists the group also spoke with many families about Monarch butterflies.  On display were about 14 chrysalises several of which eclosed during the event.  And of course that was a VERY huge draw children in particular.


This provided for some excellent teaching moments with children as well as adults.  To be able to see the very new adults opening their wings and pumping fluid into them and drying before your very eyes made this whole process very real for those who were lucky enough to witness it.  And the kids were able to make their own necklaces depicting the butterfly lifecycle.

Click HERE to see more photos from this event.

A young adult watching the monarch finishing the eclose process.

A young girl showing off her butterfly lifecycle necklace.

Seed Collection Workshop

Seed Collection Workshop #1
Seed Collection Workshop #2
Rose Gergerich and Warren Fields conducting a seed collection workshop.  
Photo courtesy of Kitty Sanders.

Phyllis Stair, Rose Gergerich, Warren Fields and Laura Stilwell in the front yard at the Fields' residence.  

Photo courtesy of Kitty Sanders. 

On Saturday, September 21st about 25 NWAMNs gathered at the home of Warren and Holly Fields for a Seed Collection workshop conducted by Rose Gergerich and Warren Fields.  This was the first session of five of the “new year” for the Native Plant Project.  This session was, for the most part, a non-working session and intended to discuss the overall process.  

The group was then led through the front and back yards of the Fields’ residence to examine the various plants that Warren and Holly have raised over the years giving all the attendees the opportunity to gather  seeds to begin their own individual native plant environments.


Watch the newsletter and the calendar for upcoming workshops.

Seed Collection Workshop #3
Seed Collection Workshop #4
Rose Gergerich collecting seeds.  
Photo courtesy of Kitty Sanders.    
Seed collection in process.  
Photo courtesy of Kitty Sanders.  

October Learning Opportunities Await!

The six bimonthly Chapter meetings feature presenters that keep us learning together. Two hours of Continuing Education credit can be logged each time you attend a Chapter meeting. Similarly, lectures are frequently offered at Hobbs, regional libraries, Shiloh Museum, and our volunteer partner agencies that address topics of Master Naturalist interest. 


An "interest group" format is another opportunity to remain engaged in learning together. The NWAMN Book Club is an interest group that meets monthly, and uses a model of shared leadership, where naturalists take turns developing discussion topics.

In October two new Continuing Education opportunities await! 


1.) A second "interest group" focused on the art of interpretation is having a kick-off event Oct 23 at Hobbs from 6:00PM-9:00PM. The format will be active engagement.


2.) Short Courses are more in-depth Continuing Education opportunities and the Oct 12 fossil field trip lead by Walt Manger will inform 20 Naturalists in an all-day field trip learning format.  (This class is full.)


Watch the newsletter and the calendar for upcoming workshops.

September Board Report  

In a session best described as “get-down-to-business time,” the NWA Chapter of Arkansas Master Naturalists addressed some challenging issues and recognized a few under-the-radar, get-it-done volunteers at its monthly Board of Directors meeting at the historic Shiloh Museum in Springdale (September 10).

Click HERE  to see entire the September Board report.

Contact Us

Lilia Beattie

Jane Foster

Dave Leisure

Cheryl Larson

JB Portillo

Steve Sampers

Christie Waggoner

Tom Waggoner


Board Secretary







Parting Shots

Submit your photos to be added to the Parting Shots in upcoming editions!  We would LOVE to see what you have been doing!!

Send your comments, content and/or photos to:
Lake Bentonville sunrise photo by Michele Warsaw.

A Cherry Tomato and Gray Treefrog, photo by Cathy Shonk

A fly proving that we ALL have to do that, photo by Jim Klinger


See you next month, till then, get outdoors!!

Volume 1 Issue 2
October 2019