April is Arkansas Native Plant Month! To celebrate, we have teamed up with our partners at the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Audubon Arkansas, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, Hobbs State Park, Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists, and the U.S. Forest Service to bring you a month of nature walks, educational events and talks, and native plant sales throughout the state. We hope to see you at one of these events in April!
April 1, 9:30 am – Warren Prairie Natural Area
Join Eric Hunt to tour one of the largest prairie preserves in Arkansas. Warren Prairie Natural Area, located in the Coastal Plain, consists of a mosaic of salt slicks, saline barrens, Delta post oak flatwoods, mound woodlands, pine flatwoods and woodlands, and bottomland hardwood forest communities. Soils at the site containing naturally high amounts of sodium and magnesium salts account for the sparse and irregular distribution of trees and the resultant dominance of grasses and other herbaceous vegetation in the barrens and associated woodlands. Stands of dwarf palmetto are distributed irregularly and lend a tropical aspect to the area. The natural area provides critical habitat for the state’s largest population of the federally threatened plant, geocarpon (Geocarpon minimum).
Directions: From Warren, take U.S. Highway 278 East approximately 4.5 miles, across the Saline River, to the junction of State Highway 172. Turn right (south) and proceed 2.0 miles to parking lot and sign on left (east). We will follow a 2.2-mile loop trail. Waterproof boots are strongly recommended, as this is a seasonally wet prairie. Bring insect repellant, snacks, lunch and water. For questions and to reserve a spot, contact Eric Hunt at 415-225-6561 or email@example.com.
April 4, 6:00 pm: Wednesdays on the Greenway with Bob Morgan
Meet at Gordon Long Park, located at 2800 N Gregg Ave, Fayetteville. Wednesdays on the Greenway provide an opportunity to view native plants in the urban setting. This year we are utilizing auxiliary trails that connect to the Greenway. Walks start at 6:00 pm and last till we get tired of looking. RSVP is not required, but you can contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-422-5594 with questions.
April 7: Visit our Farmers Market Tables!
Visit us at the market! We’ll have printed information available about native plants, invasive plants, native plant gardening, and a list of native plant nurseries. We’ll also be selling t-shirts and hats that support ANPS programs. Come see us at these locations:
- Hot Springs Downtown Farmers Market, 9-12
- Hillcrest Farmers Market, Little Rock, 8-12
April 13-15: ANPS Spring Meeting, Russellville
A weekend of wildflower walks, presentations and good company with fellow native plant enthusiasts! Everybody is welcome to attend! Meeting registration is only $10 with no pre-registration required. Registration will begin at 5:00 pm on Friday, April 13. Full information is available here.
April 14, 10:00 am: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, Fayetteville
Tour the native plant gardens with Lissa Morrison who will talk about using native species successfully in the residential landscape. The cut-off number is 20. If you are not a member of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, there is a $7 charge for this trip. If you have volunteered with Master Naturalists or OCANPS in past events for BGO, you will not be required to pay. RSVP to email@example.com to hold your spot.
April 17, 1:00 – 5:00 pm: BIOBLITZ – Little Rock’s Fourche Creek Bottoms at Interstate Park
Join Eric Hunt and Eric Sundell for a leisurely walk and exciting bioblitz, co-sponsored by Audubon Arkansas and ANPS, to Fourche Creek bottoms in Little Rock.
Directions: We’ll leave from the pavilion at Interstate Park (entrance on Arch Street, about 3/4 mile south of Roosevelt Road and just north of I-30), pass through the fields to a riparian forest leading down to a lovely cypress swamp at the creek. For better directions, call Eric Sundell at 870-723-1089.
April 18, 6:00 pm: Wednesdays on the Greenway with Bob Morgan
Tour the Town Branch Trail at Razorback Road with Bob Morgan. Wednesdays on the Greenway provide an opportunity to view native plants in the urban setting. This year we are utilizing auxiliary trails that connect to the Greenway. Hikes start at 6:00 pm and last till we get tired of looking.
Directions: From W. 15th Street, turn south onto S. Razorback Trail which the trail crosses at the bridge, where we can park. RSVP is not required, but you can contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-422-5594 with questions.
April 21, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm: 2018 Native Plant Market at the Little Rock Audubon Center
Buy locally-grown plants from Arkansas’ best native plant nurseries, and then plant a pollinator garden at your local school or neighborhood park! ANPS will have a table with information and merchandise at this event. Full information is available here.
April 21, 10:00 am: Native Plant and Wildflower Walk at Hobbs State Park near Rogers
Join Master Naturalist Joan Reynolds as she leads a native plant and wildflower walk on two short trails at Van Winkle Hollow. Both trails have many interesting plants. We will start out on the Sinking Stream Trail at Van Winkle, a ½ mile unpaved loop trail along Little Clifty Stream full of wildflowers and other native plants. Then we will walk the Historic Trail at Van Winkle which is a ½ mile paved/gravel trail with its own interesting flora. Both trails are mostly level with some slopes so it will be a leisurely walk.
Directions: From Rogers, take Hwy 12 east approximately 12 miles to the Van Winkle Historic Trailhead parking area. We will meet in the parking area at 10:00 am. Van Winkle Hollow is about 1.5 miles West of Hobbs State Park Visitor Center. RSVP is not required, but you can contact the Hobbs State Park Visitor Center at 479-789-5000 if you have questions or need directions.
April 21, 12:00 pm: Wildflower and Insect Walk on Kessler Mountain, Fayetteville
UPDATE: Due to the high chance of rain that is forecast in Fayetteville on April 21, this hike has been canceled.
Join entomologist Sim Barrow of the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust and Jennifer Ogle of ANPS at the Kessler Mountain Outdoor Classroom and Nature Center, located at 1725 Smokehouse Trail in Fayetteville, to discover the plants and insects that live in the nature center’s gardens and surrounding forest. We will tour the gardens to learn some of the Ozark native plants that may grow well at your own home and learn how to support important native insects such as solitary bees and monarch butterflies! See firsthand the transformation of the woods around the Smokehouse now that invasive bush honeysuckle plants have been removed from the forest understory! Directions: From I-49 in Fayetteville, take M.L.K. Jr. Blvd west approximately 1.5 miles to Smoke House Trail/Rupple Road and turn left. Park in the Old Smokehouse parking lot on the north side of the building. Contact Jennifer Ogle at email@example.com with questions. RSVP is not required.
April 22, 10:00 am: Rich Mountain/Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Join Eric Hunt for an exploration of Rich Mountain in the Ouachitas of western Arkansas. One of the highest east-west ridges in the Ouachita Mountains, it contains a diverse flora. Due to the elevation, the bloom time here is a few weeks later than at lower elevations, so we hope to see the last of the spring ephemerals. Meet at the parking area of Spring Trail. As time permits we will explore the Spring Trail, the Ouachita National Trail starting at the Pioneer Cemetery. Wear sturdy shoes, bring insect repellant, snacks, lunch and water.
Directions: from Mena, take Arkansas 88 north for approximately 12.5 miles. The Spring Trail Parking area is on your right directly off AR 88. For questions and to reserve a spot, contact Eric Hunt at 415-225-6561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 27-28: Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists Native Plant Sale at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, Fayetteville
Support the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists native plant program by purchasing native trees, shrubs, and perennials they have grown from seed and seedlings. The event is open to BGO members only on Friday, April 27, 5:00-8:00 pm, and to the public on Saturday, April 28, 8:00 am-12:00 pm. Full information is available here.
April 28, 9:30 am: Arkansas Valley Prairie Tour – Cherokee Prairie and H.E. Flanagan Prairie
Join ANHC botanist Brent Baker to explore a couple of natural areas in the Arkansas Valley Ecoregion. We’ll start off with a tour at Cherokee Prairie Natural Area and then caravan over to the nearby H.E. Flanagan Prairie Natural Area. These natural areas preserve some of the largest tracts (nearly 600 and 350 acres, respectively) of remnant tallgrass prairie habitat once abundant (covering about 135,000 acres) in the western Arkansas Valley Ecoregion. The soils in these prairies are derived from weathered shale, differing from prairies elsewhere in Arkansas. We’ll see a number of spring wildflowers and we’ll try to find the rare Oklahoma grass-pink orchid (Calopogon oklahomensis), a high-quality tallgrass prairie obligate, which may be starting to flower around that time. Wear sturdy shoes, and bring insect repellant and sunscreen, snacks, lunch and water.
Directions: from AR Hwy 22 in Charleston, take AR Hwy 217 north approximately 2.6 miles to junction with AR Hwy 60. Turn left onto AR Hwy 60 and travel about 0.5 mile to pull-off parking areas on both north and south side of highway (you can also pull off to the side of the highway if parking areas are full but be sure to get far enough off the road to not hinder traffic). For questions and to sign up (so you can be contacted in case of cancellation), contact Brent Baker at email@example.com or 479-970-9143.
April 28, 9:30 am: Grand Prairie Tour – Railroad Prairie, Downs Prairie, Konecny Prairie
Join Eric Hunt to explore several natural areas in the Grand Prairie of Arkansas. Railroad Prairie Natural Area occupies portions of the abandoned right-of-way of the former Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific railroad along U.S. Highway 70 between Carlisle and DeValls Bluff. See prairie, herbaceous wetland, oak woodland and forest. A large portion of Railroad Prairie consists of tallgrass prairie, a habitat that was once much more common across the Grand Prairie of eastern Arkansas (Mississippi Alluvial Plain). Today, less than 1 percent of the prairies that occurred across this region remain. Explore the eastern end of Railroad Prairie and adjacent Downs Prairie as well as Konecny Prairie, just north of Stuttgart. We hope to see Oklahoma grass-pink orchid (Calopogon oklahomensis) at Downs Prairie. Wear sturdy shoes, bring insect repellant, snacks, lunch and water.
Directions: from Hazen, take US 70 east approximately 5 miles to Lawman Road/CR 24. Turn left onto Lawman road and park along the dirt road that curves to the right. For questions and to reserve a spot, contact Eric Hunt at 415-225-6561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.