Monthly Archives: July 2018

NWALT Welcomes Leah Saffian to Our Team!

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is proud to welcome Leah Saffian as our new Office Administrator!

In addition to working at NWALT, Leah runs Counterpart Studio, a graphic design and visual arts business. Leah received her BA in Art & Performance from the University of Texas at Dallas before relocating to Fayetteville, Arkansas to become a member of the 2012 Energy Corps.  She was subsequently offered a full-time position as Deputy Director and Education Coordinator for Washington County Environmental Affairs where she worked for over 6 years. Leah also served as President on the Arkansas Environmental Education Association (AEEA) Board of Directors. Her artwork has been featured in the NWA Upstream Art contest as part of an effort to educate citizens about storm water best management practices.

For more information about NWALT staff, visit our Staff Page.

3 Years – 5,000 Acres Campaign

We’re taking a bold step to protect land in Northwest Arkansas. Join us as we embark on this new challenge, together.

Northwest Arkansas Land Trust’s 5,000 Acre Campaign – by 2021:

  • Save 5,000 acres of important natural areas
  • Raise $2.8 million dollars in community support
  • Contribute over 1,600 volunteer hours to care for the land
  • Open at least 6 new properties to the public

“The goal of the campaign is to proactively protect and steward those landscapes which provide the greatest public benefit to our region”, says Terri Lane, executive director.

How will land be protected?

First, we rely heavily on conservation-minded landowners, just as we have for the past 15 years. The vast majority of high-value conservation land is privately held.  The land trust works with willing landowners to find a conservation path that works best for them. This includes land donations, conservation easements and other arrangements.

In some cases, however, the only way to save key properties is to buy them. Through this campaign, the land trust will establish a land acquisition fund to quickly act on the purchase of vulnerable lands.

Land owned by the land trust is permanently protected as preserves. The land trust also sometimes facilitates the purchase of properties to be owned by a city and permanently protected by a conservation easement and stewardship collaboration with the land trust.

Where will protected lands be?

The majority of land will be in Benton and Washington counties, the two most rapidly urbanizing counties in Northwest Arkansas. The land trust will continue to work with landowners in all counties throughout our service region.

The land trust focuses on “landscape scale” conservation, an approach that maximizes public benefit by protecting whole landscapes. Our priority landscapes protect drinking water, wildlife habitat, local food and farms, outdoor recreation and scenic resources.

Our goals are also strategically aligned with the Northwest Arkansas Open Space Plan. The Plan identifies areas throughout Benton and Washington counties that are most important for conservation. The land trust is one of the leading partners in developing and implementing the Plan which serves as a valuable tool for smart growth in our region.

How will people be involved on the land?

Connecting people to the land is a critical part of our mission. The land trust regularly schedules volunteer efforts, citizen science opportunities, programs through the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom, and other “on-the-land” events.

“Through this campaign, we are excited to develop trails and public access on several land trust preserves, and to further ramp up our outreach and volunteer efforts”, says Sim Barrow, communications and outreach manager for the land trust.

The land trust takes a holistic approach to land conservation. “We believe that good land stewardship starts with knowing what is there”, says Alan Edmondson, land stewardship specialist for the land trust. By documenting the condition of the land – including plants, animals and any sensitive habitats – we can protect, honor and highlight those features for the future. Volunteers, interns and land trust members are key to these efforts.

How can I support the campaign?

This is a bold campaign that will require the participation and support of the community – individuals, corporations, and community partners.

A generous grant through the Walton Family Foundation allowed the land trust to increase its staff capacity to pursue the campaign, but community match must be raised for operational support, and the grant does not directly fund the purchase of land. Help us raise $2.8 million!

Support the 5,000 Acre Campaign. Donate Today!

 

 

 

Wilson Springs Bioblitz – Saturday, September 15, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Help us collect biodiversity data at this all-out search for life at Wilson Springs Preserve!

Image courtesy of Warren Herold.

We’re hosting a Bioblitz at Wilson Springs Preserve, Fayetteville’s largest wet-prairie remnant. All are welcome to join us for this effort to document as many living things as possible during the 12-hour period. No experience is necessary! Local experts and conservation professionals will be present to lead hikes and assist with collecting and identifying organisms. Volunteers can attend for as long as they would like to help collect insects, survey for birds, herps & wildflowers, or look for fungi. Snacks and drinks will be provided. Parking for the event will be available at 2783 N. Shiloh Drive Fayetteville, AR 72704. Please wear long pants and mud boots. For more information and to register, contact us or call (479) 966-4666.

Hike Schedule:

8:30am I-Naturalist Training

9am Bird Hike

10am Bug Hike

11am Plant Hike

12-1pm Lunch

1pm I-Naturalist Training

2pm Bug Hike

3pm Plant Hike

4pm Bird Hike

What is a Bioblitz?

A Bioblitz is a community effort to identify as many living species as possible in a given area within a specific period of time. Volunteers of all ages assist local experts with observing and identifying plants, insects, birds, fungi and other living things. The resulting biodiversity data is highly valuable for researchers and conservation organizations, and can be used to direct land management activities for the area. Bioblitzes offer a great opportunity to explore natural areas while helping local conservation groups better understand the habitats that they manage.

About Wilson Springs Preserve

The Wilson Springs Preserve is a unique wet prairie located in the Clabber Creek bottomlands, near Sam’s Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The 121-acre preserve is owned and managed by the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. It is the largest wetland remnant in Fayetteville, AR and one of the last tall grass prairie remnants in the region. Wilson Springs provides habitat for a wide variety of rare and sensitive plant and animal species, including the Arkansas darter, one of Arkansas’ rarest fish species. Restoration efforts by the land trust have been underway since 2015.

Thanks to our Bioblitz Partners: Arkansas Agriculture Department, Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists, Arkansas Native Plant Society, University of Arkansas Entomology DepartmentIllinois River Watershed Partnership, Comprehensive Botanical Services, and Einstein Bros. Bakery.

Fayettechill Lawn Party – Friday, July 20, 6-9 p.m.

Join the party in support of your local land trust!

Fayettechill Clothing Company, our neighbors at the Old Ozark Smokehouse, are hosting their second annual Summer Lawn Party to benefit the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust and Buffalo River Watershed Alliance.

Fayettechill is rolling out all the stops for the party: 5 local breweries, live music, plenty of classic yard games (volleyball, horseshoes, bocce ball, and cornhole), and a chance to mingle with NWALT & BRWA staff!

$15 entry at the door goes 100% to the BRWA/NWALT & gets you unlimited beer, food, and fun for the evening. Other opportunities to donate will be available as well.

Family + dog friendly, come join us and Fayettechill at the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse for a quintessential Fayetteville evening! They’re aiming to host a no-impact event, so if you can, please bring your own pint glass + plate. Check out the Facebook event page for more info!