Newsletter of the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists
Inspiring a Love of Nature | Citizen Scientists | Stewards of Nature | Educating All Ages
Working to Keep Arkansas
in its Natural State
February 1 - Benton County NIT Training starts
February 6 - Springdale NIT Training starts (Yes, there's a Springdale Class!! See more about this below.)
February 15 - NWAMN NIT Volunteer Fair at IRWP in Cave Springs
Click HERE for all the February Volunteer Activities
2019 NWAMN by the NUMBERS!!
The number of NWAMNs who achieved at least 40 Volunteer hours and 8 Continuing Education Hours
Miles traveled as reported in Club Express.
At 25 MPG that's approximately 4,174 gallons of gasoline.
This data is as of January 15, 2020.
The Chapter held our bi-monthly meeting January 19th at the Washington County Extension Office in Fayetteville.
One of the highlights was the discussion that Rob King had with the group. Rob is from CAMN which is hosting the BioBlast this year in the Little Rock area. Rob went over the classes and the venue. A list of class descriptions is available HERE.
Dave Leisure spoke after Rob and highlighted MANY, MANY 2019 activities and upcoming items in 2020.
Below is a highlight list of some of the items Dave talked about. As you can see, this list is extensive and is something we can ALL be so proud of!!
Some of the New Programs begun in 2019
- Strategic Planning Group established and is developing a plan to present to the board that will provide direction to our chapter over the next few years.
- Began a relationship with Arkansas Game & Fish regarding the new Nature Center in Springdale
- Added a 4th NIT Class for the 2020 training. We will train a total of 112 NITS this year
- Began monthly newsletter to inform and to improve communication between chapter members
- Began Chinquapin Initiative at Lake Wedington
- Awarded a $2500 grant to IRWP fto assist in the re-establishment of two acres of native prairie at the Woolsey Farmstead in Fayetteville
- Began a project with Springdale Public Library to purchase books with the purpose of establishing a Master Naturalist bookshelf at the library
- Defined and established a new Ambassador Program to replace the Mentor Program for the purpose of assisting new members in getting connected with our chapter activities
- Implemented a new website and volunteer time entry program
- Had initial training to chapter members on how to better use Interpretation in our outreach and education efforts
- Trained the chapter with the iNaturalist app with purpose of promoting greater chapter involvement with Citizen Science
- Hosted the Monarch Festival in Rogers
Based on the strength of resources, projected membership increase, and continued success with native plant sales we have new opportunities provided in 2020 chapter budget:
- Money allocated for enhanced Advanced Training/Continuing Education to our chapter members
- Sponsorship of up to seven chapter members for training and completion of the Certified Interpretive Guide designation through National Association of Interpretation
- Money allocated for Leadership Development training
- Money allocated to purchase a total of six resource books/guides to our NITs (two new books added for 2020 training)
- Money allocated to pay for NIT lodging at ONSC during their NIT training weekend at that facility
- Money allocated for unanticipated projects that may arise during 2020
A 4th NIT Class!!
NWAMN Responds to record demand for membership!
With record demand for enrollment in our Naturalist In Training classes, NWAMN found itself at the January board meeting with all three classes full and 20 people on a waiting list. Believing where there is a will there should be a way and that no one should be left behind, a group of volunteers quickly put together a solution to this delightful problem.
Our Curriculum Committee of Lilia Beattie, Jane Foster Deb Shoemaker, and Care Butler put together a program following the weeknight class format similar to the program in Eureka Springs and largely using the same instructors we have in our Bentonville and Fayetteville classes. Christie Waggoner and Carrie Byron searched for a venue in a central location and were able to secure the use of the Shiloh Meeting Hall in Springdale. And, critically important, Jonathan Perrodin stepped up to be the class coordinator for the year.
All in four days!
Others have volunteered to help as Ambassadors and Field Interpreters, so we anticipate a program that offers the same high quality education we have committed to give all our new members. The board approved the new class by special vote on Saturday, and Dave Leisure announced the new class offering at the chapter membership gathering on Sunday, just five days after the board decided to see if a new class would be feasible.
Dave went on to point out that "not only are we able to train another 20 Master Naturalists, but bringing this class to a central location in northwest Arkansas and providing classes on weekday evenings instead of Saturdays, may make us even more accessible to residents in our communities. It's an exciting time to be a Master Naturalist in northwest Arkansas!"
Speaking of Hours...
Volunteer Hours - Helpful Guidelines Now Available on Club Express
It is a brand new year providing brand new opportunities to log in volunteer hours through Club Express. At the last Board meeting, the Board approved the Volunteer Activity Guidelines to define overall parameters regarding what counts as volunteer hours and what doesn't count.
You can access the Guidelines by logging into Club Express and go to NWAMN Chapter. On the upper right side, click on "Documents." Scroll to "NWAMN Documents" and double-click on the folder icon. The Volunteer Activity Guidelines is at the bottom of the list.
While the guidelines address most of the questions you may have about what can be included as volunteer hours, it doesn't address every scenario. Volunteer activities must be applicable to our mission with the honor system serving as the deciding factor in volunteer hours recorded.
The New Ambassador (nee Mentor) Program
In late 2019 a Group of Master Naturalists met to discuss advancing and improving the Mentoring Program. The result was the transformation of the Mentor program into the NWAMN Ambassador Program. The Ambassador Program looks to continue key Mentoring activities, but to also expand the scope of what we take on.
The Ambassador Program has solicited volunteers whose immediate focus is to welcome, and help assimilate, the 2020 NITS into the Master Naturalists organization. Two points of emphasis for the Ambassadors are to highlight, explain, and encourage participation in Volunteer Opportunities, and to encourage the use of the MN Website as a primary resource for understanding the MN organization, and the upcoming Volunteer opportunities.
Similar to the Mentoring Program, we will have Ambassadors making one-on-one contacts with the NITs.
Additionally, we plan to have an official Ambassador presence at each NIT Class, including a 15-minute “Ambassador Talk” at each class. There will also be an Ambassador Roster and Contact List distributed to every NIT, encouraging NITS to reach out to any Ambassador that they are comfortable with to ask their questions.
Initial acceptance has been awesome. We have over 30 MNs who have indicated that they want to help with the Ambassador Program. We had a kickoff meeting on Jan 12 attended by 25 MNs where there was a lot of discussion and engagement. It was a great start.
We are still in the initial phase of getting organized. We can always use more help and would love to talk to anyone who wants to help out in any way. We hope to continue to evolve to where we become bigger than just concentrating on NIT assimilation and possibly become the Social Arm of the MN organization.
The Golden Age Club is a part of the Baptist Church in West Fork that meets monthly for lunch and various topics. They became aware of NWAMN through a take-one card that Christie and Tom Waggoner had placed in the West Fork Library.
Dave gave a PowerPoint presentation about our interests and involvement in the area. After the presentation there was a Q & A and enough enthusiasm that several took applications and/or signed up on the Friends of MN list. There were about 25 people there. (Their potluck was delicious!)
Notes from Nature Workshop
Did you know that the Herbarium at the University of Arkansas has preserved botanical specimens from 1876, just four years after the University was founded? And that several native Arkansas species can only be found as specimens in herbariums, having disappeared in the wild? The 41 Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, and other participants in the three recent Notes From Nature transcription training workshops learned this and how to transcribe information from digitized specimens so botanists around the world can study plants without having to travel to a herbarium.
Using the online software, trained volunteers can work at their own pace, adding the information. Each specimen is examined by three different volunteers and the results compared by a computer for accuracy, so no worries about mistakes. Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission is the sponsor for Notes from Nature and worked locally with Jennifer Ogle, manager of the UoA. Herbarium to present the workshops at Old Main and NWACC. If you are interested but did not attend the training, there is another transcription event planned for October that will include training. In addition, Jennifer is looking for volunteers to help with label data entry, digitization, and mounting of new specimens and other tasks at the U. of A. Herbarium. These tasks do require training in small groups. If you are interested, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-575-4372. When she has enough participants, she will schedule a training session.
Diana Souteropoulos, ANHC botanist and workshop presenter said: “In 2019, we completed over 70,000 transcriptions, exploring specimens from the 23 eastern counties in the Delta and Crowley’s Ridge, the 2 northwest counties to support the ANHC county inventory project, specimens from the genus Carex from all over the state, finished transcribing all of Hendrix College’s collection, and started entering skeletal records for the University of Arkansas Monticello collection.
We also hosted multiple events throughout Arkansas in conjunction with the international WeDigBio transcription blitz for the first time. The event took place Thursday, October 17 through Sunday, October 20, 2019 aiming to transcribe as many labels as possible during the four-day period. Arkansans showed up, submitting about twice as many transcriptions for the Plants of Arkansas project than have ever been completed during the event previously. In total, 4918 transcriptions were submitted through the online platform. Friday, October 19 marked a new day in transcription history for Arkansas, with Arkansas contributing over a third of all transcriptions completed on Notes from Nature worldwide and setting a record for number of transcriptions completed on the Plants of Arkansas project in a single day: 3197.”
If you’d like to be a part of this project, watch our calendar for Notes from Nature training in October and for announcements on volunteer training at the UoA Herbarium.
Cheryl Larson and Kathy Mason working hard at the Herbarium Training Session.
Audrey Weymiller and Kitty Sanders studying the information from Diana Souteropoulos of UoA.
The Citizen Science Team met for its first meeting January 9th at the Shiloh Museum General Store. The items discussed include a working definition of Citizen Science and how it relates to our current projects, the mission of the CS group within the organization, and guidelines for tracking hours.
In the next several months the team will be creating a catalog of projects which will include projects for groups and individuals.
Anyone interested in joining the team is encouraged to contact Denise Klinger at email@example.com.
Members of the Citizen Science Team in attendance at Shiloh Museum General Store. From left to right: Dodie Angulo, Kitty Sanders, Denise Klinger, Sonya Zimmer, Jane Foster, Heather Wilson, Audrey Weymiller. In attendance, but not in the photo, is Alicia Meza.
Member Profile - Pat Costner
What year did you become a Master Naturalist?
What was it that made you interested in MN?
Several friends who were in the Class of 2018 guaranteed that I would enjoy getting acquainted with the other NITs and enjoy the training. They were right!
What activities do you volunteer as a MN?
Preparing and giving presentations on topics such as "How to Control Invasive Plants" and "The Gaia Hypothesis."
Compiling and sharing published studies on biocides, such as glyphosate, and their impacts on the organisms that live on and in the soil.
Participating in hikes and walks directed by experts in identifying trees and other plants, including invasives and those native to the Ozarks.
Identifying, monitoring, and managing invasive plants on my 135-acre homeplace and soon, I hope, participating in a similar plan for Lake Leatherwood City Park.
How long have you been in NW Arkansas? From where did you move?
I moved to NW Arkansas from Boulder, Colorado, in 1974. However, I was born into a family of cotton farmers in the swampy flatlands of northeast Arkansas, where most of my childhood was spent. After some years as a research chemist, I realized that what I most wanted was to live as self-sufficiently as possible and for my children to grow up surrounded by hills, trees, creeks, and lots of wildlife. After a few years, I came to understand the impracticality, if not impossibility, of achieving self-sufficiency for a four-person family on 135 acres forest Ozark karst. Then I turned my attention to finding out what I could do to protect it and have continued to do that to the best of my abilities.
What other hobbies besides MN do you enjoy?
I would say that my biggest hobby is my place. It's a high-maintenance place -- wood heat, a composting outhouse; a photovoltaic system with a lithium battery bank that can operate either grid-tie or off-grid; etc., etc. And I'm always trying to figure out how to make all of it work or work better and easier. At one time I gardened seriously, but now my gardening style is best described as "selective removal."
Kayaking was my favorite sport-like hobby for years. After a two-year respite, I hope to get back to it come spring.
Walking up and down the hills and hollers, through the woods and along the creeks is an absolutely unbeatable hobby.
Reading is a major pleasure and pastime. Science fiction has been my absolutely favorite genre for going on 70 years.
February Full Moon:
The Snow Moon
Is February the Snowiest Month?
It is the cold, rising air that maximizes snowfall. The snowiest place in the United States is Paradise Ranger Station on Mount Rainier, WA, according to Alaska-based climatologist Dr. Brian Brettschneider who has studied 30 years of snowfall in the US. The snowiest incorporated city is Valdez, Alaska, while the snowiest place east of the Rockies is Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire.
February is the record snow month in some areas of the US, including in New York City, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Louisville, Portland, Tahoe City, and Washington D.C.
However, December and January hold the snowfall record in far more places, March and April in fewer places, and in some areas of Alaska, October and November statistically get more snow.
The following books are being suggested for our upcoming meetings:
February 20th, 2020: The Wild Trees, A Story of Passion and Daring by Richard Preston. Nominated by Rose Gergerich
March 19th, 2020: Inconspicuous Consumption, The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have by Tatiana Schlossberg. Nominated by Rose Gergerich
April 16th, 2020: Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World by Emma Marris. Nominated by Frankie Jackson
May 2020: We have decided to read Ansel Adams: An Autobiography by Ansel Adams, suggested by Ken Leonard for our May Book Club meeting, and we may possibly meet at Crystal Bridges on May 23rd during Ansel Adams exhibit. Our normal meeting date for May 2020 is on Thursday, May 21st. Stay tuned while we firm up plans for this book.
1. Arkansas Lakes, Rivers, and Streams
Arkansas contains over 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers.
Arkansas’ name came from the Quapaw Indians, whom the French called the “Arkansaw.” Why is Arkansas pronounced differently from Kansas? Because Kansas (pronounced KAN-zuhs) is the English pronunciation, and Arkansas (pronounced AHR-kuhn-saw) is the French pronunciation (which is closer to the way Native Americans said it.)
January Board Report
The January Board meeting was the first with the new 2020 Board members. Dave welcomed the new members as well as the returning members.
Dave's Fun Fact - Hoar Frost and Rime Frost. Dave gave a great explanation of these two types of frost and their differences along with some photos of the later he took at his property earlier this month. Rime Frost is unusual in that it requires some specific environmental conditions in order to occur. No wind and temperatures between 17° and 28°F. With any wind or outside of that narrow temperature band, Rime Frost won’t occur.
Treasurer’s Report - JB Portillo reported that the finances continue to be in excellent condition and that we will now start to see some expenses coming in for the NIT training classes. The Club Express system has appears to have provided earlier renewals than experienced in the past.
President’s Report - Dave told the assembled group that the board decided last year to put in place a President-Elect (P-E) position in 2020 and to assign that position from the existing board. The P-E will act as P-E for a year, then be the President the following year and then in the third year be the Past President. Dave nominated Denise Klinger for the P-E position in 2020. She then gave a presentation of her qualifications. A nomination of Denise was then formally made, seconded, and approved by the Board.
Volunteer Coordinator’s Report - Jim Klinger provided a brief update on the Volunteer Fair set for 2/15/20.
Membership Committee Report - A brief update on the Ambassador program was provided indicating that the three Ambassador Leads are Alexa Pittenger for Eureka Springs, Kitty Sanders for Washington County, and Terry Weiderhaft for Benton County.
All three NIT classes are full with a Wait List totaling 18!! Dave asked for a small team to put on their thinking caps to come up with innovative ideas to keep these 18 folks engaged and possibly trained. The small subgroup consists of Lilia Beattie, Kitty Sanders, Deb Shoemaker, and Tom Waggoner. Subsequent to the board meeting the subgroup was able to put together an entire 4th class. And Jonathan Perrodin as the class coordinator.
Dave mentioned meeting a Eureka Springs NIT named Scott Miskiel who is the city of Eureka Springs Gardener expressed a desire to collaborate with NWAMN to use the Eureka Springs city greenhouses.
Kathy Mason also mentioned a collaborative effort between NWAMN, AGFC, USFS for a demo plot for use with Quail restoration.
Do you know what the longest river in North America is???
The Longest River in North America is...
The Missouri River at around 2,340 miles (3,770 km) in length it is slightly longer than the Mississippi River (2,320 miles). The two combine to form the longest river system in North America.
Below are the 2020 Board of Directors
Member at Large
Member at Large
Member at Large
Member at Large
Policies and Procedures
Member at Large
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:
Trumpeter Swans at Heber Springs
Parting Shots photos courtesy of Michele Warsaw
See you next month, till then, get outdoors!!