Each fall the Arkansas Audubon Society offers adult natural history workshops designed to enhance understanding and appreciation of Arkansas’ rich and fascinating plant and animal communities. Classes are taught by knowledgeable, enthusiastic educators.
ARKANSAS BUTTERFLIES (Workshop is full – waiting list only)
Instructors: Cheryl Lavers and Norman Lavers
The Greeks believed that butterflies were the souls of the dead on their way to the next world. Today their beauty, fragility and magical transformation still capture our imaginations. In this workshop we will look at the various stages in their lives, at their defense systems, mimicry, cryptic coloration etc. We will learn the skills required to identify them (around 130 species can be seen regularly in Arkansas), and go out in the field and practice these skills. We will also discuss how to create the right habitat to attract butterflies to our homes.
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: EDIBLE TREES & PLANTS
Instructor: Dr. Tamara Walkingstick, Extension Specialist – Forestry, UA Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service
Many of our grandparents and parents used wild plants. We all know about sassafras tea and the glorious taste of wild blackberries, but we have forgotten how extensively wild plants can be used as food. In this workshop, you will not only learn to identify a few edible species of Arkansas native and non-native vegetation: you’ll also learn how to prepare a few tasty dishes. For example, acorns make great flour that you can incorporate into scones and biscuits. The course covers concepts of conservation, history, culture, and plant identification—while you’re learning to walk on the wild side.
Instructor: Dr. Dan Scheiman, Director of Bird Science & Conservation, Audubon Arkansas
Birds are visible, colorful, vocal, and found just about everywhere. It’s no wonder birdwatching is the second most popular outdoor hobby in the U.S. next to gardening. While it is easy to watch birds, it takes a little more effort to identify them. This class is an introduction to birds and birdwatching. Through fieldwork and classroom study, you will get a feel for the tools and skills needed to identify and more fully understand our feathered friends.
NATIVE TREE IDENTIFICATION
Instructor: Dr. Eric Sundell, Professor of Biology, Emeritus, University of Arkansas-Monticello
With the help of a user-friendly key, we will identify more than 50 species of native trees and shrubs from the rich woods of the Ferncliff Conference Center. You’ll meet basswood and pawpaw, admire the chambered pith of black walnut, and taste the medicinal inner bark of slippery elm. And you will learn how to identify all of the other kinds of trees that grow elsewhere in the state. If you and Confucius agree that getting the right name is the first step to wisdom and appreciation, this workshop is for you.
WORKSHOP HOURS: Each two-day workshop begins on Saturday, October 2 at 10 a.m. with orientation in the Brown Center meeting room at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center (www.ferncliff.org). The workshops end on Sunday, October 3 no later than 4 p.m.
WORKSHOP COST: There are two options for attending the workshop: stay over Saturday night or commute.
–Option 1: $ 170
Overnighters will occupy climate controlled rooms, each with two double beds and private bath. Rooms are smoke-free, television-free, and telephone-free. Linens are included. Let us know if you have a roommate in mind.
–Option 2: $ 130
Commuters head home Saturday night after the evening program and rejoin their groups at breakfast Sunday morning.
REGISTRATION: For more information and for registration forms, email Eric Sundell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (870)723-1089. Or you can download a registration form from the Arkansas Audubon Society website, www.arbirds.org. Your completed registration form should be sent, with either a $50 deposit or full tuition made payable to Arkansas Audubon Society, to:
Arkansas Audubon Society
c/o Barry Haas
804 Konrad Court
Little Rock, AR 72223-9201
Note: the balance of the tuition will be payable in advance at the same address.
MEALS: Four meals are included in the workshop fee: Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday breakfast and lunch. Warning! Ferncliff’s kitchen offers hearty, delicious meals, including vegetarian fare and homemade desserts, served cafeteria-style. It is possible to leave the workshop on Sunday both smarter and heavier.
EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS INCLUDED: Class instructors offer take-home educational materials, handouts or books, for example, Liz and Bill Fulton’s tree identification key for the Tree ID Workshop –a $30 value that is included in the registration fee. We recommend that participants bring along a notebook and personal copies of appropriate field guides.
PERSONAL VEHICLES: Plenty of parking is available at Ferncliff.
ACCESSIBILITY: Please contact the Ferncliff administration office at (501) 821-3063 for specific information concerning accommodations for handicap accessibility. All four of the workshops will take place both in the classroom and outdoors and will require moderate walking to various sites around a rustic campus. All ages and fitness levels have attended classes in the past with no problems reported.
WHAT TO BRING: Wear comfortable shoes and appropriate, casual clothing. A hat, insect repellant and a flashlight are recommended. For participants in the tree ID workshop, a portable stool can be helpful.
HOW TO GET THERE: For directions to Ferncliff Camp (located just west of Little Rock) and more information about the facilities, you can go to: www.ferncliff.org.
For more information, visit www.arbirds.org.