Category Archives: Events and Programs

New Biomonitoring Volunteer Opportunity

Join our newest citizen science biomonitoring program!

If you enjoy discovering things in nature while exploring the outdoors, then you will love our newest biomonitoring program. We’re using iNaturalist to document biodiversity on five of our protected properties. iNaturalist is a worldwide citizen science project in which volunteers use their camera or smartphone to record observations of living organisms and submit them to an online database where experts work together to make an accurate identification.

NWALT has created a Project in iNaturalist that tracks observations that are made at the following properties:

Wilson Springs Preserve

Kessler Mountain Reserve

Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom

Steele-Stevens Heritage Park

Flint Creek Preserve

Citizen science is a great way to experience the outdoors in a new way while providing valuable information to local conservation efforts. By becoming an iNaturalist Observer with us, you will help us gain a better understanding of the biodiversity of the properties that we protect.

Becoming an iNaturalist Observer is easy! Just go to www.inaturalist.org and create an account (or, download the iNaturalist app on your smartphone and sign up there). After you create your account, join our project. Next time you’re on a hike on Kessler Mountain or at a program at Wilson Springs, you can start submitting observations directly from your phone!

We are hosting a short training workshop on Thursday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m. We encourage all interested volunteers to join us to learn about the program and how to make the most of the iNaturalist platform. Contact us if you’d like to attend.

Botany Talk with Theo Witsell – Saturday, March 24 2-4pm

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.

Volunteer Program Planning Meeting – Sunday, January 14 2-4pm

Join us as we prepare for a big year of volunteering!

Are you looking to volunteer in 2018? Join us at this short meeting to learn about how you can help preserve and protect Northwest Arkansas’ natural landscapes. We will be launching multiple projects in 2018 to create new soft-surface trails, restore habitat, ramp up our biomonitoring program, and more. The meeting will take place at our headquarters at the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse (1725 Smokehouse Trail Fayetteville, AR 72701) on Sunday, January 14 from 2-4pm. We will give an overview of NWALT’s volunteer programs and set goals for the new year. After the meeting, we’ll lead a short hike on the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom Education Trail.

We couldn’t accomplish our work without the help of our volunteers. Thanks to everyone that gives their time to support local land conservation!

 

Kessler Geology Walk – Saturday, January 27 1-4pm

Learn the fascinating geologic history of Kessler Mountain from Geologist Walt Manger!

Join us on Saturday, January 27 from 1-4pm for our annual Geology Walk! Emeritus Professor of Geosciences Walt Manger and local bird expert Joe Neal will lead an easy and informative hike through Rock City Trail on Kessler Mountain in Fayetteville. Dr. Manger will teach about the geologic history of Kessler Mountain, and Joe Neal will point out information about local birds and plants. Comfortable shoes or boots are recommended. The program is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required. Contact sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org to sign up.

Save Land this #GivingTuesday!

Support Local Land Conservation this #GivingTuesday!

Held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday is a social media-driven celebration of giving that has raised millions of dollars for nonprofits around the world.

As Northwest Arkansas continues to grow, it is increasingly important to act quickly and proactively to protect the natural landscapes that matter most to people and wildlife in the region. As your local land trust, we are dedicated to preserving the unique beauty and natural heritage of Northwest Arkansas forever. But we need your support to help us save land for wildlife, clean water, outdoor recreation and quality of life right here in our community. We hope you’ll join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for this year’s #GivingTuesday and make your donation count for local land conservation.

Last year’s Giving Tuesday was a huge success, and we want this year to be even better! This year, we want to increase our membership by 30 individuals. As a member of the land trust, and you will be making a sound investment in local land conservation. Plus, you’ll also receive special invitations to exclusive events and programs!

How can you help? Make a donation, invite your friends, share our #GivingTuesday posts, and tell us what you #SaveLandFor by using the hashtag to let us know why local land conservation is important to you!

Christmas Bird Count – December 17 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Help Us Survey Birds on NWALT-conserved Properties at the Christmas Bird Count!

The Christmas Bird Count is the longest-standing citizen science program in the nation, with almost 100 years of data on bird populations across the country. The Fayetteville Christmas Bird Count is taking place on December 17 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The land trust is leading a team of birders to survey the NWALT-conserved properties that lie within the project circle. Our team will visit a variety of habitats, including restored riparian habitat, wet prairie, and the unique shale barrens habitat on Kessler Mountain. We expect to see waterfowl, sparrows, hawks, warblers, and others. Volunteers may join us for all or a portion of the day. There will be an after count tally and party at the home of Doug James and Elizabeth Adams.

The NWALT team will meet at our headquarters at the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse (1725 Smokehouse Trail, Fayetteville AR 72701) and will carpool to the first property. We will return to the Smokehouse for lunch. Please bring a sack lunch, binoculars, field guide, close-toed shoes and cold-weather attire.

If you would like to join our team, please contact sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org.

Calendar of Events

We’re hosting several events, programs and volunteer opportunities this Fall. Check out our schedule and mark your calendars!

September 11 – Kessler Classroom Garden Work Day 

6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Historic Ozark Smokehouse

Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty? Join us as we work in our native plant garden preparing for the fall. We will be weeding and mulching our perennial plants.

The native plant gardens at the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center are a key educational tool for the facility. They teach about the importance of pollinators, the benefits of native plant landscaping, and their impact on water quality. They are also beautiful throughout the growing season.

September 16 – Kessler Classroom Open House

9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Historic Ozark Smokehouse

Join us in exploring the Kessler Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center as we learn all about birds! This family-friendly program will feature crafts and activities in the Nature Center and a guided hike 10:00 a.m. Bring your own binoculars!

September 16 – Bats and Bluegrass hosted by Illinois River Watershed Partnership

4:00-9:00 p.m. at the Illinois River Watershed Sanctuary

Come out to the Illinois River Watershed Partnership (IRWP)’s Sanctuary for the 5th Annual Bats & Bluegrass event. Family-friendly outdoor activities including nature hikes, fishing, and canoeing start at 4 p.m. Live music will begin at 6 p.m. At dusk (around 8:30 p.m.), you’ll get a chance to watch the gray bats exit Cave Springs Cave. For more information, email contact@irwp.org or visit http://www.irwp.org/.

September 30 – Town Branch Preserve Cleanup

9:00-11:00 a.m. at Town Branch Trail, Fayetteville

Join us as we work to cleanup one of our urban pocket preserves along the Town Branch multi-use trail to improve water quality and habitat on the property. We will bring gloves and trash bags. Please wear closed-toe shoes. Parking is available on the West side of Spectrum Apartments, along Horizon Way. Please RSVP by contacting sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org.

Town Branch Preserve is located along the Town Branch multi-use trail in Fayetteville. This small 0.7-acre property protects riparian habitat along Town Branch Creek, which flows into the West Fork of the white River, a major tributary of Beaver Lake, the primary source of drinking water in Northwest Arkansas. It also provides habitat for local wildlife and offers a scenic backdrop for trail users.

October 7 – Wilson Springs Preserve Cleanup

9:00-11:00 a.m. at Wilson Springs Preserve, Fayetteville

Join the effort to improve habitat at Wilson Springs Preserve. The land trust is seeking volunteers to pick up litter on the property as part of our stewardship program for the preserve. This work day will help prepare the site for upcoming restoration work.

Wetlands like Wilson Springs provide a necessary function to the environment and people: they slow runoff and filter pollutants while providing important habitat for a variety of plants and animals. However, trash from surrounding areas tends to accumulate, causing damage to the ecosystem.

Meet us at 9 am at the Vold Vision parking lot (2783 N Shiloh Drive Fayetteville, AR 72701). Snacks, refreshments, gloves and tools will be provided. Please wear rubber boots, as it can be wet and muddy in places. Please contact sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org to RSVP.

October 14 – Kessler Trail Run hosted by Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association

9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at Kessler Mountain

Come out to the best trail race in NWA! Option to run a 10K or 20K. Race goes by some of the best trails in NWA, including Rock City. Doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced trail runner or if this is your first trail run, you are sure to enjoy this race!

Register here: https://app.regwiz.io/register/kessler/236

Oh and did we mention they have the BEST after party?!

 October 15 – The Big Sit

1:00-5:00 p.m. at Wilson Springs Preserve, Fayetteville

In honor of the beloved tailgating tradition in college football, we are hosting a tailgating party for birders at our Big Sit at Wilson Springs Preserve! Birdwatchers of all skill levels are invited to join us for free food and drink as we watch the birds at this unique and vital wetland habitat. Local experts will lead guided hikes and demonstrate bird sampling techniques. Bring a chair and binoculars. Please RSVP by contacting sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org.

Help Teach the Next Generation of Conservationists

Do you love working with kids and exploring the natural world?

We are seeking volunteer educators to help continue and expand our environmental education program. The Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center, located at our headquarters in the Historic Ozark Mountain Smokehouse in Fayetteville, is a local community conservation program that hosts field trips and special events throughout the year. Our mission is to grow the next generation of conservationists through research, outreach and education. Currently, all 3rd grade students in Fayetteville participate in a half-day field trip hiking and connecting with nature, and the land trust is working to expand to other nearby schools.

We need volunteer educators to help lead field trips for our growing number of schools. Training is provided. With your help, we can grow this program and offer experiences to students in other communities and schools throughout the region. For more information, contact sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org.

12th Annual Secchi Day – Saturday, August 19 9am-1pm

Join our community partners to celebrate and study water quality on Beaver Lake!

Beaver Water District is hosting its 12th Annual Secchi Day at Prairie Creek Park in Rogers on Saturday, August 19th. This event is named for the Secchi Disk, a black and white device lowered into the water to measure clarity.

At this free community event, Beaver Water District’s community partners will offer activities for all ages, including a mobile aquarium, on shore scavenger hunt with prizes, free lunch and ice cream, kayak and Stand-up Paddle-Board test rides, microscope activities, and more. The land trust will be there participating in the fun!

We hope to see you there! Contact the Beaver Water District for more information: awilson@bwdh2o.org

2017 LandWise Conservation Win-Win Workshop

Strategies for achieving conservation win-win outcomes in our growing region

 

Registration is open for our 2nd annual Conservation Win-Win Workshop.

August 8, 2017 at Pratt Place Barn, Fayetteville, AR

10am-4:30pm followed by an onsite networking reception.

$35/participant; includes buffet lunch and reception, CEU’s and materials.

CEU support generously provided by education provider USGBC-Arkansas.

This workshop is designed for regional “decision-makers”, including city planners, real estate professionals, elected officials, and business and community leaders. Participants will learn from local professionals with practical examples and resources for creating more profitable and longer lasting projects while improving our communities through preservation of landscapes, watersheds and wildlife.

This year will feature presentations by Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, Beaver Water District, NWA Regional Planning Commission, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, and others. Afternoon panel will include a conversation with regional conservation partners including Beaver Watershed Alliance, Illinois River Watershed Partnership, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Watershed Conservation Resource Center, Arkansas Archaeological Society, The Nature Conservancy and Walton Family Foundation.

CEU’s Available: Each speaker session approved for 1 AIA LU SD/HSW and qualifies for 1 hour USGBC/GBCI (non LEED specific) for a total of up to five credit hours.

Space is limited! Register online today:

Washington County Win-Win Registration

Special thanks to Walton Family Foundation, Beaver Water District, Specialized Real Estate Group, and Beaver Watershed Alliance for their support. CEU support generously provided by education provider USGBC-Arkansas.

 

Featured image by Amanda Bancroft