Connecting People with Nature
Photo: Ben Meadors
Connecting People to nature
First and foremost, thank you for being an Audubon supporter. Whether with your time, your treasure, or both, you help Audubon as we strive to be the most effective conservation network in America. Our Arkansas team has been hard at work over the summer. We have harvested and planted acres of native grasses and flowers in an effort to draw more and more Northern Bobwhite back to the Grand Prairie. At the Little Rock Audubon center we hosted dozens of school kids every day over the summer, and now we get to see them after school each day. We also been hosting chimney swifts this fall as they begin their migration. And we have continued the fight to bring more solar energy to Arkansas, reducing air pollution that puts all birds at risk.
This fall promises even more activity at the LR Audubon Center and around the state. We hope you will take time to stop by and say hello at the Center, explore our Wildlife Observation Trail, and enjoy the Arkansas fall weather (whenever it decides to arrive). Please continue to check our website and stay up-to-date with all our activities as an email subscriber. We want to let you know what we’re up to and how we can work together to make Arkansas a place where birds and people can thrive together.
If you would like to make a financial gift to Audubon Arkansas or to volunteer your time, please contact us through the website or by calling (501) 244-2229. Our team would love to hear from you.
The next step in Audubon's NATIVE Project is under way in eastern Arkansas. Audubon Arkansas and project partners Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Roundstone Native Seed Company are assisting farmers with establishing production plots of pollinator-friendly forbs such as Compassplant, Prairie Blazingstar, and Missouri Ironweed. The first ten acres are being planted across four farms in Jefferson and Arkansas Counties.
Last fall volunteers helped Audubon and Natural Heritage hand-collect seeds from remnants of the Grand Prairie. Roundstone germinated those seeds into plugs and brought the plugs and their plug planter to Arkansas this summer. Before the plugs go in, Audubon works with the farmers to install sheets of plastic ("plastic mulch") and irrigation hoses ("drip tape") to efficienty suppress weeds and water the plants.
When these plants mature they will produce seeds of their own, which together with the grass seed from farmers' production plots will be used for prairie restoration. In this way farmers are growing an environmentally friendly, climate-chnage resistent cash crop that will benefit pollinators, songbirds, and game species like the Northern Bobwhite.
Audubon Arkansas’s conservation efforts around Fourche Creek have attracted two great partners in July. We received $20,000 from corporate neighbor 3M, allowing us to conduct more outreach and cleanup events along Fourche. The 3M Environmental Reserve Fund supports a series of BioBlitzes – events where volunteers will discover the rich diversity of flora and fauna that inhabit Fourche Bottoms, while also classifying and removing trash that has been washed into the woods.
The Arkansas Arts Council has agreed to support Drain Smart again this year, increasing their investment to $8,700 through the Collaborative Project Support funding program (made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts). Audubon Arkansas administers the Drain Smart program, blending public art with a conservation message on Little Rock storm drains. Funding goes to support the artists that participate, in addition to purchasing supplies and equipment our talented artists need to complete these unique works of art in the capital city.
“These investments by corporate and civic partners reflect the importance of Fourche Creek to our communities in Little Rock,” said Brett Kincaid, Executive Director for Audubon Arkansas. “We are grateful that 3M and the Arts Council continue to show faith in our work and our mission to clean up this diamond in the rough.”
Over 400 people attended the Drain Smart Meet the Artists Celebration at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center on June 13. That is double last year's crowd. Guests talked with the artists about their murals, voted for their favorite art, donated to support the project, and learned that you should never litter because trash on the street gets washed into our creeks through storm drains. Checkout photos from the event. Vote online now through July 13.
Thanks to our caterers: Bavo!, Del Frisco, The Root Cafe, Flyway Brewing, and Lake Liquor. Thanks also to our 2017 Drain Smart sponsors: The Promenade at Chenal, THV11, Tegna Foundation, Heights Neighborhood Association, Arkansas Arts Center, The Bernice Garden, Cental Arkansas Water, Hillcrest Harvestfest, Hillcrest Residents Association, Hillcrest Merchants Association, Central Arkansas Library System, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Pulaski County Recycling & Waste Reducation. Support for Drain Smart is also provided, in part, by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts.