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.

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 Department, and the Illinois River Watershed Partnership.

NOW HIRING: Farmland Preservation Coordinator

Join our conservation team as we work to protect farmland in Northwest Arkansas!

JOB TITLE: Farmland Preservation Coordinator

Part Time: Partial-time, 30 hours/week through December 31, 2018. (Employment continuation and full-time status to be determined at the end of this planning period.)

ABOUT THE POSITION: The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust seeks uniquely qualified applicants for the position of Farmland Preservation Coordinator (FPC). This newly-created position is offered for an initial approximate 6-month, grant-funded planning period at 30 hours per week. Continued employment and funding to implement the program will be evaluated at the end of the planning period. The ideal FPC candidate has solid business or project planning skills as well as sustainable farming experience and a natural skill set that includes excellent attention to detail, common sense, strong communication skills, excellent time management skills, and a strong sense of professionalism.

RESPONSIBILITIES & SCOPE Under the direction of the Executive Director and in coordination with members of the Farmland Preservation Planning Team, the FPC will be responsible for the strategic planning, coordinating, writing and delivery of a detailed 5-year plan for implementation of a new and comprehensive farmland preservation program. The program will be built upon existing research and a framework that includes three key project components; 1) Farmland Preservation – a detailed business model for farmland acquisition, ownership, farmer leasing, transfer and permanent preservation; 2) Farmer Incubation – a detailed business model for putting farmers on the land and providing training and support; 3) Farm-Link – a detailed outline for connecting farmers selling land to farmers seeking land.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

▪ Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree preferred

▪ Minimum of five (5) years experience in business or project planning

▪ Sustainable farming experience (preferably in fruit and vegetable production)

▪ Ability to think independently, problem-solve, and work with a team

▪ Self-starter, task-oriented with excellent time-management skills

▪ Strong organization and writing skills, accuracy, and attention to detail

▪ Ability to set and implement priorities, manage multiple projects, and evaluate project success

▪ Experience with budget preparation and expense tracking

▪ Ability to read and evaluate physical and agricultural landscape elements

▪ Experience working with farmers, civic groups, town, county, state, and federal agencies

▪ Experience communicating with partner organizations and ability to negotiate agreements

▪ Excellent computer and technology skills

▪ Strong interest in research and conservation

▪ Willingness to work occasional irregular hours, including weekends, evenings, and/or holidays

▪ There is a fieldwork component to this position – must be able to traverse varied farmland terrain and participate in fieldwork as necessary

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

▪ Master’s Degree in Agriculture, Horticulture, Environmental Sciences, or related field

▪ Fruit and vegetable farming experience

▪ Knowledge of leading trends, issues and practices in farmland preservation

▪ Familiarity with conservation easements and real estate transactions

▪ Experience working with organizations and agencies in Northwest Arkansas

▪ Experience applying for, and successfully receiving, grant funding

PAY AND BENEFITS:

▪ $15,375 for 6-month, 30-hour/week (to be adjusted based on actual start date)

▪ Paid holidays, vacation, sick and personal leave

HOW TO APPLY

All applications must be received by 5pm Central Time, July 15, 2018. Successful applicants must meet or exceed the minimum qualifications outlined above.

Email applications to Leah Saffian, Office Administrator, lsaffian@nwalandtrust.org:

✓ Indicate your interest in the Farmland Preservation Coordinator position in the subject line

✓ Provide resume and detailed cover letter addressed to Terri Lane, Executive Director, highlighting your interest and relevant experience

✓ Provide three references who can speak to your business/project leadership and farming experience

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law

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!