Wednesday, September 28, 2016

University of Arkansas Press Publishes Guide to the Big Woods of Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Exploring the Big Woods: A Guide to the Last Great Forest of the Arkansas Delta, by Matthew Moran (UA Press) is a natural history of an ecosystem that once stretched from southern Illinois to the Gulf Coast. It’s also a guide to help readers discover the land, plants and animals, as well as the hiking and canoeing opportunities of this unique and beautiful place.

The Big Woods is a corridor of bottomland hardwood forest along Arkansas’s lower White River, the largest block of forest remaining in the northern Mississippi Alluvial Plain.

When Matthew Moran, professor of biology at Hendrix College, first visited the Big Woods, it had been reduced to 5 percent of its former glory. A forest that once covered eight million acres in Arkansas had been drained and cleared for agriculture—rice, corn, soybeans, and cotton grown on some of the richest soil on Earth. Thanks to the foresight of concerned conservationists over the years, Moran found, these few remnants were still like no other place in the mid-South.
The wildlife that inhabit the Big Woods include several endangered and declining species that still thrive there. The White River and its tributaries still meander relatively unimpeded through the heart of the Big Woods, periodically flooding the forest and releasing their supply of essential nutrients.
Exploring the Big Woods is a guide for those who want to visit this extraordinary piece of nature.

“From 2011 to 2013, I spent many days exploring and scouting the locations described in this book,” said Moran. “Over those years I came to realize how special the Big Woods is. The book is not exhaustive, but it tries to assist in your personal exploration of the Big Woods and begin your naturalist’s education about this great place. More people who are interested in nature need to visit the Big Woods. Perhaps in no other place in the mid South can you see wildlife at this level of abundance and experience a bottomland forest of this quality.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ouachita River Clean-up Set for Oct. 1

“Saturday October 1st Moro Bay State Park will be hosting our annual Ouachita River Clean-Up from 10:00am. until Noon! This event is held in coalition with our park and the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Campaign. Come out and join park staff, as well as others from the community, to do our part to help keep the Ouachita River and Moro Bay clean. Trash bags, gloves, and safety vest are provided. Folks are encouraged to bring and use their own watercraft if available, but not required. Contact the park at 870-463-8555 for additional information.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Harvest of feral hogs illegal on many public areas

LITTLE ROCK – In an effort to eradicate hogs, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has passed regulations against hunting them on wildlife management areas it controls. The regulation was enacted on some WMAs during the 2014-15 hunting season, and has gradually spread to include nearly all AGFC WMAs in the state.
At first glance, it does seem a bit backward that the AGFC is working to eliminate hogs on property it controls, but will not allow hunters to harvest them, but the situation is much more complex than killing a couple of pigs.
            For decades, the AGFC allowed harvest of feral hogs during any open season with weapons legal for that season on wildlife management areas. Coyote season enabled hunters to be afield nine months of the year with high-powered rifles to pursue feral hogs. But feral hog populations continued to rise.

10 Things to Know about Fall Webworm in Arkansas

STATEWIDE ARK. – Fall webworms are a common sight across Arkansas from late August until late October. Don’t get too concerned – this small creature is not considered a “forest pest” because it rarely kills the host tree. It is, however, unsightly and occasionally may cause damage to pecan groves. Fall webworms are most commonly found on pecan, persimmon and other fruiting trees, and occasionally other hardwood leaves. Fall webworms can be removed by simply clipping and disposing of the web, or at the very least – creating holes in the web so that birds, ants and other predators/insects can eat the caterpillars.

Learn more! Below, find 10 Things to Know about Fall Webworm in Arkansas:

1.       Fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea, is a native moth that is found throughout the eastern U.S.

2.       It is capable of consuming about 120 species of hardwood trees, but prefers persimmon, walnut, and hickory.

3.       The caterpillars create silken tents that keep them safe while feeding on leaves. These webs are on the ends of branches, which can be easily pruned out.

4.       The adult is a good-looking moth with a 4 cm wingspan. Females are pure white and males may have black spots on the wings.

5.       In Arkansas, the moth may have up to four generations per year, and webs will appear more abundant late-summer.

6.       Like most native pests, they become abundant when conditions are favorable (i.e., mild weather and less biocontrol). Native insect outbreaks have a tendency to crash when natural controls lower their population to normal levels again.

7.       Fall webworm is unlikely to kill trees because their damage occurs late in the growing season. Complete defoliation and multiple years of damage could weaken a tree enough to cause harm.

8.       Caterpillars remain in the tree unless they run out of food due to competition with siblings. They will move to the ground to pupate over the winter.

9.       Keeping the webs under control can take some effort. Prune webs as early as you see them over summer months.

10.   Some insecticides are labeled for webworms. Products with the active ingredients carbaryl and Bacillus thuringiensis are easily available to homeowners.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Agreement Eases Transfer Of Students From Cossatot CC To UAM School of Forestry and Natural Resources

           MONTICELLO, AR — A memorandum of agreement between the University of Arkansas at Monticello and Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas will ease the transfer of students from CCCUA to the natural resources management program in UAM’s School of Forestry and Natural Resources.
            According to Dr. Phil Tappe, dean of the School of Forestry and Natural Resources, the agreement is designed to help CCCUA students interested in becoming natural resources management majors at UAM. “CCCUA will advise, recruit and counsel students interested in our programs during the transfer process,” Tappe explained.
            As part of the agreement, CCCUA will help students in course selection to ensure that courses taken at CCCUA fit the required general education and core courses needed to transfer into the natural resources management program. CCCUA will also appoint a transfer facilitator as a faculty advisor to work with the associate dean of academics in the School of Forestry and Natural Resources to complete the transfer process.
            UAM will work with CCCUA advisors to identify courses that will substitute directly in the transfer process.  “Our advisors will work individually with CCCUA students and advisors to ensure that the transfer process will be as easy as possible,” said Tappe. “When possible, we will offer transfer scholarships to CCCUA students who meet the qualifications and guidelines for UAM transfer scholarships.
            “CCCUA is in an area of the state where forestry and natural resource management is a leading industry and we believe CCCUA students represent an untapped market for our programs,” Tappe said. “This is an opportunity to reach into other areas of the state and present an attractive educational alternative to anyone interested in natural resource management.”
            The UAM School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, a University of Arkansas System Center of Excellence, bring together interdisciplinary expertise through a partnership between UAM and the UA System’s Division of Agriculture. The school and center are both housed in UAM’s Chamberlin Forestry Complex.
            For more information, contact Tappe at (870) 460-1052.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kirst Endowed Scholarship Awarded

2016-17 Robert C. Kirst Endowed Scholarships Awarded
To Ashley Newcomb and Synthia Scott

            MONTICELLO, AR — Ashley Newcomb of Royal and Synthia Scott of Searcy have been selected to receive the 2016-17 Robert C. Kirst Endowed Scholarship presented annually by the School of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
            The Robert C. Kirst Scholarship was established by the UAM Agriculture Alumni Society to honor Professor Emeritus of Agriculture Robert Kirst following his retirement from UAM in 1998. The scholarship is awarded to an agriculture major. The Alumni Society initiated an annual fund-raising activity every November prior to the opening day of deer season with the proceeds designated for the Kirst Scholarship.
            Newcomb is a junior animal science major while Scott is a senior, also majoring in animal science. For more information, contact the School of Agriculture at (870) 460-1014.

PHOTO CAPTION: Ashley Newcomb (left) and Synthia Scott (right) are the recipients of the 2016-17 Robert C. Kirst Endowed Scholarship. Also pictured is Dr. Jason Cater of the UAM agriculture faculty.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Momma Bear and Three Cubs Caught on Camera

During Labor Day weekend, Freddie Mobley sent in this photo of a Momma Bear and her three cubs. The photo was taken in lower Bradley County.