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Date: 11/30/2019
Subject: December Newsletter
From: Jim Klinger


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 



The December General Meeting (dubbed the Polar Express) will feature a potluck and a talk about Polar Bears by Denis Dean!!  


Bring a dish to share, your own silverware, cup and dishes.  The Chapter will provide coffee, punch and napkins.

So let's make it a date for December 15th from 2PM - 4PM at the Washington County Extension Office located at 2536 N.McCoonell Ave., Fayetteville, AR  72704.


Just a gentle reminder (nudge, nudge) that  2020 dues are due by December 31, 2019. So please get your renewals into JB as soon as you can.  Don't hesitate to contact JB if you have questions.


With the end of the year rapidly approaching and the holidays upon us take some time now and enter your hours before the year slips away!!  If you need a refresher on how to enter hours into the website, click HERE for a tutorial on how to enter hours.


2020 NIT Training Schedules are available for Benton and Washington counties.  So if you want a refresher or if you missed a class when you were a NIT take a look at the schedules in the following links:

 Benton County  First class is February 1, 2020

 Washington County First class is January 25, 2020

Pollinator Garden

As Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists, we seek to contribute to the improvement of our local ecosystem and the education of the next generation of environmentalists. A powerful example of these ideals in action is the new pollinator garden at Frank Tillery Elementary School in Rogers. 


 Fifth grade teacher and fellow Master Naturalist, Frankie Jackson, began with the simple goal of getting K-5 students outside to teach them how to grow some basic vegetables. After witnessing the sheer joy the kids had “playing” in the garden, which then consisted of three 4X8 raised beds shared between thirty classrooms, Frankie knew an expansion was in order. She applied for and received a grant from the Rogers Noon Rotary in partnership with the Rogers Public Education Foundation to expand the existing garden and add an outdoor classroom. 


With the funding in place and construction labor provided by Eagle Scout candidates from Rogers Troop 122, Frankie decided to not only expand the vegetable garden and build an outdoor classroom, but also to add a pollinator garden!

Applying her NWAMN training with her classroom experience, Frankie created an eight bed pollinator garden that allows students to interact with native plants, observe a wide variety of pollinators, act as nannies to caterpillars found in the garden and, perhaps most importantly, learn the value of nature.


 The community has also taken notice. Frankie has been contacted by other Rogers area teachers and teachers from surrounding districts asking for ideas and advice on how to create pollinator gardens at their schools. Community members have reached out to her wanting to know more about NWAMN and how to get involved with the school garden. The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce honored Frankie by awarding her the 2018-2019 Virginia Mocivnik Award for “demonstrating outstanding community service beyond the classroom.”


This fledgling garden has already captured the hearts and minds of students. So far, students in all grade levels have nannied six different species of caterpillars and one lucky kindergarten class actually witnessed a monarch eclose! Imagine a classroom of twenty kindergarten students wide eyed and breathlessly silent… Not sure which of those two things was the greatest miracle of science!
5th Graders Weeding
2nd Graders and Catepillars

5th Graders weeding the beds.  

2nd Graders 3 looking at the caterpillars found in the garden.

Warren Fields and Phyllis Stair
Christie Waggoner

Warren Fields and Phyllis Stair working in the beds and planting.

Christie Waggoner working in the beds.


(3 Billion – a 3 with 9 zeroes)

Cedar Waxwing
Great Blue Heron

Clockwise from the upper left: Cedar Waxwings, Great Blue Heron, Hummingbirds, and Gulls.

Dave Leisure’s Fun Factoid of the Month:


 3 Billion – a 3 with nine zeroes


Dave asked what that number represents.  A few in the crowd knew this was the number of birds lost in North America since 1970,  a loss of 29% of the total birds population.


 And the cause for this decline, while due to several factors, is primarily attributed to two primary causes:

  1. Loss of habitat
  2. Pesticides/herbicides/fertilizers

 On the bright side, there are two categories of birds seeing an increase.

  1. Eagles - primarily due to habitat protection (think DDT)
  2. Waterfowl - primarily due to conservation efforts (think Ducks Unlimited, which might seem counterintuitive but not so!)


According to a story on NPR

Their results show that more than 90% of the loss can be attributed to just a dozen bird families, including sparrows, warblers, blackbirds and finches.


Common birds with decreasing populations include meadowlarks, dark-eyed juncos, horned larks and red-winged blackbirds, says Rosenberg. Grassland birds have suffered a 53% decrease in their numbers, and more than a third of the shorebird population has been lost.

And as it turns out Denise Klinger gave a couple of presentations at the Gravette Lions' Club Live and Learn event Saturday, November 9th.  Her opening question of the crowds was if they knew the significance of 3,000,000,000.  She had extremely engaged audiences who asked many questions on how they can help the birds and wildlife in general.  See photos below.
Gravette Lions Club 1
Gravette Lions Club 2

Ozark Chinquapin Foundation

Saving an american Treasure

NWAMN is leading a new project to reintroduce native Ozark Chinquapin trees to the Lake Wedington park. A devastating Chestnut Blight wiped out most of the native Ozark Chinquapin trees in Arkansas during the 1950's. Only a rare remnant of blight resistant trees survive.


The Ozark Chinquapin Foundation has been searching out surviving trees and collecting seeds that are documented and tracked for blight resistance. NWAMN have identified areas suitable to plant seeds at Lake Wedington, and we're making an effort to get other NWAMN members to join the Ozark Chinquapin Foundation to receive seeds in early 2020 to pool together for plantings at Lake Wedington.


The Ozark Chinquapin Foundation is providing seeds from surviving, blight resistant trees to new members who join the foundation.  We ask that anyone who can join, sign up on their website by clicking HERE then email to put your name on the list of people from NWAMN who will be pooling seeds.


To anyone who joins, we thank you and also know that the plantings will be monitored by NWAMN to document their growth over the years and reported to the OCF our scientific data on seedling growth for blight resistance research and development of the best seeds. Jay Pitts is leading this NWAMN project and any questions should be emailed to him at

Chinqupin #1
Chinqupin #2

Chinquapin nuts, burrs and leaves.  Photo courtesy of Ozark Chinquapin Foundation.

Chinquapin nuts in the burrs.  Photo courtesy of Ozark Chinquapin Foundation.

Ozark Highlands Nature Center

Several NWAMNs visited the under-construction Arkansas Game and Fish Division Ozark Highlands Nature Center in Springdale.  The 27,000-square-foot center is being built on 62 acres donated by Springdale along Spring Creek.  One official said it was 70% complete.


The land was donated by the City of Springdale, but had been used as a construction dump so there was more site prep than they anticipated. In one case, they had to go down 24 feet to get to suitable ground, then haul in dirt to build back up.


There are three parts to the new building: the Exhibit Hall, the Meeting Hall, and an Indoor Archery and BB Gun Range.   The exhibit hall will include a terrarium, an aquarium, a digital stream, fishing/hunting simulators, and a quail habitat.  One entrance will be a simulated cave.  The digital stream will be responsive to touch and shadow. Fish will dart away when your shadow falls on the stream.  The Exhibit Hall moves from Spring to Fall as you walk through the exhibits. There is a Quail habitat simulation at the far end.

The Meeting Hall holds up to 200, has a kitchen and can be divided into three smaller meeting rooms.  As a partner, we will be able to book the rooms for no charge if they are available.  The Indoor Archery and BB range are for students and adults alike to learn.  There is a more advanced outdoor archery range as well.


The Meeting Hall and Exhibit Hall are connected by an interior walkway with one glass wall looking out on the native plant garden. Visitors will walk through the garden to enter the building.


Volunteer opportunities for NWAMN will range from working the information desk, giving tours, helping with education, native garden maintenance, stream monitoring, and many more as the center develops. The center is projected to open in October 2020.

For more information go to the AGFD website by clicking HERE.
- Cheryl Larson
Meeting Hall

Meeting Hall photo by Cheryl Larson

Exhibit Hall
Exhibit Hall photo by Cheryl Larson

Board of Director Changes

With the new year rapidly approaching there will be some changes on the Board of Directors. There are five long time Board members who have decided to relinquish their positions.
Leaving their positions at the end of this year (and the year they became a MN) are:
Robin Buff (2017)
Steve Sampers (2009 - a "Charter" member of NWAMN!)
Patty Severino (2014)
Phyllis Stair (2018)
Christie Waggoner (2014)
Starting January 2020 there are five new board members.  Interestingly, all five new board members were in the 2019 NIT class from Benton County.  
The new members are:
Carrie Byron
Denise Klinger
Jim Klinger
Deb Shoemaker
Paul Springer
Areas of responsibility will be identified and assigned soon.
New 2020 Board Members

New 2020 Board members from left Jim Klinger, Denise Klinger, Paul Springer, Deb Shoemaker, and Carrie Byron.  Photo by Trish Redus.

Member Profile - Karan Freeman

Karan became a NWAMN member 1/20/2018. She has never lived in another state, and grew up outside of Arkadelphia, on a farm in Degray community. She  completed college in Little Rock, moved to Fort Smith In the mid eighties and in 1991 moved to Fayetteville. 

Karan loves spending time outdoors, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and biking.  She and her friend, Rita Carver have tormented their friends for years stalking wild flowers.  They have talked for several years about signing up for Master Naturalist training to expand their knowledge.  Once Karan retired the two of them signed up.

Her volunteer activities include invasive species removal, native plant project, stream smart monitoring, and assisting at Mount Kessler 3rd grade nature education program. Karan has tried bird box monitoring but it wasn’t something she thoroughly enjoyed, so she has tried other opportunities.  She appreciates the opportunity to experience a number of volunteer opportunities, ranging from picking up trash to helping plant native plants in local parks. 


Karan says it’s wonderful to find such a large group of people with common interests and willingness to share their knowledge and expertise. She learns something new on each outing and feels like she has "found her people."

December: Cold Moon

In December, winter sets in and the full moon is called the Cold Moon. It is also called Long Nights Moon, and the Moon before Yule.  


In ancient times, it was common to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month rather than the solar year, which the 12 months in our modern calendar are based on.


For millennia, people across Europe, as well as Native American tribes, named the months after features they associated with the Northern Hemisphere seasons, and many of these names are very similar or identical.

December Moon Phases

Book Club News

There is no December meeting of the Book Club.  


The next meeting will be January 16, 2020.  Our selection for the Master Naturalists Book Club for Thursday, January 16th, 2020 will be "The Inner Life of Animals" by Peter Wohlleben. In an earlier book club discussion, we read "The Hidden Life of Trees" which we thoroughly enjoyed. 

 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.)

Boiling Water

 Fun Facts

Liquids can boil and freeze at the same time

While this sounds completely counterintuitive, all substances have what's called a "triple point," or the exact temperature and pressure at which the three main states of matter—gas, liquid, and solid—are at equilibrium. For water, that point exists at 0.01°C (32.018°F) and 611.657 pascals of partial vapor pressure.


As the temperature and pressure fluctuate in tiny amounts around that triple point, a frozen liquid can start to boil, and a boiling liquid can freeze solid.

Monthly Board Report  

A quick summary of the November Board Report shows many topics discussed.  Click HERE to read the full report.

Dave’s Fun Factoid of the Month:  

 3,000,000,0003 Billion – a 3 with nine zeroes

Dave asked what that number represents.  A few in the crowd knew this was the number of birds lost in North America since 1970, a loss of 29% of the total bird population.  See elsewhere in the newsletter for more info on this number.

2020 NITS

Dave mentioned that the Washington County and Benton County 2020 NIT classes are nearly full. 

Treasurer’s Report

JB reported that the chapter continues to be in a strong financial position that will allow us to explore and consider an even wider number of project possibilities. 

Strategic Planning Report

Trish Redus presented for the committee in Kathy Trotter’s place.  She provided a very thorough readout of the committee’s work to date.  The primary tenets of the committee’s report are summed up in its 4 Goals.

2020 Board

Dave presented the Proposed 2020 Board Members.  Check out the full board report for the full slate of Board members.


A variety of other topics were discussed, including the Chinquapin Oak Project, the Springdale Library Book Donation Pilot Project, a Texting Pilot, Certified Interpretive Guide Training, and Native Plants

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:
Turtles on Log

Turtles on log taken by Mary Christian Stewart


Bufflehead at Craig State Fish Hatchery photo by Jim Klinger.

Nature's art photo by Michele Warsaw

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

Volume 1 Issue 4
December 2019