Monthly Archives: March 2016

Butterflies and Dragonflies Abound at Wilson Springs Preserve

Research Partnership Shows High Diversity of Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies

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How do you tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly? The wings of damselflies are held directly above their body (top), while dragonflies hold their wings away from their body (bottom). Photos: Terri Lane (top) Karen Willard (bottom)

 

Karen Willard, a Ph.D. student at the University of Arkansas, completed a survey of Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) and Lepidopterans (butterflies and moths) last summer at our Wilson Springs Preserve and found some exciting species!

Karen documented a total of 22 species of dragonflies and damselflies and 30 species of butterflies, skippers, and moths in her surveys.  Some species, like the Dion skipper and the least skipper, are only found in wetlands, adding to the growing list of plants and animals that rely on Wilson Springs as one of their last preserved habitats in this region.

These insects play an important role in our ecosystem. Dragonflies are daytime predators of gnats and mosquitos, giving people a break from these pesky pests. Butterflies and moths are pollinators of native wildflowers and even some fruit and vegetable plants.  It is important for us to encourage a diverse and abundant population of these important insects for a healthy ecosystem and for our quality of life.

Karen’s list is a great example of how Wilson Springs and other green space can be used for research by scientists of all ages and experience levels.  The land trust uses research like this to help us keep tabs on the natural systems on our properties.   Not only does the land trust provide access to the property for students and local experts, but we also host citizen science projects and field trips for the general public to explore our conservation lands and learn more about our local landscapes.

If you are interested in getting involved in research or citizen science projects on our properties, contact us today!  Also, check out our upcoming herp-hike in April!

April Herp Hike with J.D. Willson

Follow along as we search for reptiles and amphibians on this night-time wetland walk

DSC01137Have you ever heard of “herping?” What about “frogging by ear?” Join us this April to enjoy both of these fun and fascinating activities at Wilson Springs Preserve!

Herping is the act of searching for reptiles and amphibians, named after the study of these animals – Herpetology.  J.D. Willson, Herpetology professor with the University of Arkansas, will be leading this wetland walk to search for the frogs, snakes, salamanders and turtles that live in the preserve.

During the program, we will teach you how to go “frogging by ear” by listening to mating calls to determine which frog species are present.

Because frogs are most active in wet weather, this program will take place at night during rain. We don’t have a date set yet, but if you are interested in attending, please RSVP by emailing sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org or calling 479-966-4666. We will let everyone know the date about a week in advance.

Be sure to bring a light source (headlights are best) tall rubber boots, and a rain jacket.

More details to come: stay tuned!

Keep Arkansas Natural Volunteer Fair – Saturday, April 2 9:00-2:00PM

Visit the Frisco Station Mall on April 2 to get acquainted with local conservation organizations

KAN FairThe inaugural “Keep Arkansas Natural” Volunteer Fair is taking place on Saturday, April 2 from 9:00-2:00 PM.  Conservation organizations throughout the region will be present to share information about their work.

In addition to the informational exhibits, there will be on-site entertainment by local musicians Still on the Hill. After the event, attendees will have the opportunity to volunteer with the organizations at “Learn & Do” workshops off site.

The land trust is one of the 80+ exhibitors that will be there! We will be hosting a “Learn & Do” workshop on invasive plant removal on Kessler Mountain that afternoon.

This is sure to be a fun event! We hope to see you there.

Learn & Do Volunteer Workshop – Saturday, April 2 3:30-5:00 PM

Help the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust fight against invasive plants on Kessler Mountain!

trailtouchedThis workshop is being held in conjunction with the “Keep Arkansas Natural” Volunteer Fair. You can find out more about that here.

On this “Learn & Do” workshop, you will learn about the most common invasive plants on Kessler Mountain, how they threaten the unique native habitats there, and what you can do to control them.

Next we will put what you’ve learned into practice by removing bush honeysuckle from the forest surrounding the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom’s educational loop trail in preparation for field trips later that month.

Wear sturdy shoes and clothes, and bring any gloves or tools that you might have. Some tools and gloves will be provided for those that do not have their own.

Please RSVP by emailing sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org or by calling 479-966-4666. 

Coffee with the Mayors of Benton County

Benton County Mayors Meet to Discuss Regional Conservation Efforts

File Mar 08, 3 05 48 PMOn the morning of Tuesday March 8, several Benton County mayors and representatives joined the land trust for coffee and breakfast at Compton Gardens in Bentonville to learn about our organization, our LandWise Initiative and about the Northwest Arkansas Open Space Plan.  Named after Neil Compton, founder of the Ozark Society and savior of the Buffalo River, Compton Gardens was a fitting place to discuss local land conservation.

The meeting opened with a presentation from the land trust about our LandWise Initiative. The purpose of LandWise is to increase the pace of voluntary, permanent land protection in Northwest Arkansas by engaging regional decision makers, leveraging regional partnerships, and increasing the conservation of priority landscapes.   Next, Elizabeth Bowan, project manager with the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, presented the NWA Open Space Plan and discussed the vital role that the land trust plays in accomplishing its goals both as a resource to landowners and municipalities, and as a partner in raising awareness about the Plan throughout the region.

After the presentations, the mayors engaged in a round-table discussion about the unique challenges and opportunities for conservation in their communities.  There is a wide variety of communities in Benton County, from cities to small towns. Despite their differences, all communities are experiencing the challenge of preserving vital green space as they grow.  This forum provided a great opportunity to learn more about each unique community and discuss how we can all work together to find “win-win” conservation outcomes in our growing region!

We would like to thank the following local leaders in Benton County for supporting our work and for joining the ongoing conversation about how to SAVE LAND in Northwest Arkansas!

Mayor Peter Christie        Bella Vista

Troy Galloway                 Community & Economic Director, Bentonville

Mayor Travis Lee             Cave Springs

Mayor Bill Edwards          Centerton

Mayor Kurt Maddox         Gravette

Mayor Buddy Blue           Little Flock

Mayor Jackie Crabtree     Pea Ridge

Steve Glass                    Director of Planning & Transportation, Rogers

Wilson Springs Invasive Plant Removal – Sunday March 13, 1:00-3:30 PM

Help us deliver a one-two punch against invasive plants with our Conservation Crew at Wilson Springs!

Feb21Workday3_TL_editedThanks to the efforts of our volunteers last month, we were able to knock out a big section of invasive plants at Wilson Springs.  Our Conservation Crew will be back at it again on Sunday, March 13 from 1:00-3:30 PM to continue the fight and they need your help!

This workday will be a continuation of our efforts to clear the stream banks of invasive plants.  Knocking back these invasive species early in the growing season helps the later blooming native plants have a fighting chance, improving habitat for imperiled species such as monarch butterflies and the Arkansas darter, a candidate for endangered species listing. If you missed the last workday, we will bring you up to speed on identification at the beginning of the workday.

Please wear mud boots and work clothes, and bring limb loppers and gloves if you have them.  We will provide tools and gloves for those that do not have their own.  We need all the help we can get; contact Sim Barrow: sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org to RSVP.

As always, we thank our Conservation Crew, our volunteers, and partner organizations for helping us in the fight against invasive plants!