Theo Witsell Presents Rare Plants and Special Places of Northwest Arkansas
Join us on Saturday, March 24 at 2pm for the next program in our Kessler Speaker Series with a presentation by Theo Witsell, State Botanist/Ecologist with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Witsell’s presentation, titled “Rare Plants and Special Places of Northwest Arkansas,” will cover the sensitive habitats and rare plants that are found in the region. The program will conclude with a short plant hike on the education trail to practice plant identification. This program will take place in the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center at our headquarters in the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse (1725 Smokehouse Trail Fayetteville, AR 72701).
In 2014, Theo Witsell completed a rapid ecological assessment of the Kessler Mountain Reserve and discovered many rare plants, including the Missouri ground cherry (Physalis missouriensis). He also characterized sensitive habitats on the mountain, where unique plant communities thrive.
Theo Witsell is the senior botanist and ecologist for the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and a Research Associate at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. He has also worked as a contract botanist for a number of federal agencies and private organizations including the USDA Forest Service, the National Park Service, the United States Department of Defense, The Nature Conservancy, NatureServe, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (University of Texas at Austin), and the Gates Rogers Foundation. He is co-editor of the recently published Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas, and is co-author of an upcoming book on Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas. Theo is currently working on a number of research projects including an inventory of the plants of remnant grasslands across Arkansas and the description of several undescribed plant species. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 scientific publications and book chapters and serves as a regional reviewer for the Flora of North America Project. Theo is a native Arkansan and holds a Masters degree in botany from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His research interests include the ecology and conservation of rare plants and their habitats, restoration of degraded ecosystems, and anything to do with the shale barrens of the Ouachita Mountains. He has expertise in the flora of North America east of the Rocky Mountains and is also an avid native plant gardener.
The Kessler Speaker Series features presentations by local experts in various environmental fields, and is offered to all members of the Northwest Arkansas Community. Registration is limited. Click here to register.