Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hasn't anyone mentioned the wisdom of building trails outside the riparian zone of urban streams?

Trail only 18 inches higher than flow of Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River under S. School Avenue. Whose idea was this? Rain had slacked off but more could come. Video at 8:23 a.m. Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Ever drive South College when was was flowing over the bridge and bridge was temporarily closed? Now there is less room for water under the bridge.
http://youtu.be/I-8w_HpVdKU?list=UUwcZunxqSV3zcgvRJqBn-Qw

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mary Virginia Robins Ferguson obit: A heroine of Arkansas environmental conservation

Hubert and Mary Virginia in Fayetteville for Buffalo River Celebration.

Service Details Guestbook Note to Family
Mary Virginia Robins Ferguson 


Mary Virginia Robins Ferguson
March 20, 1927 - May 8, 2014
Mary Virginia Robins Ferguson, of Boxley, Arkansas, died Thursday, May 8, in Conway, Arkansas, from complications of a stroke suffered in late March.

Mary Virginia was born March 20, 1927, in Conway, Arkansas, to Frank E. Robins Jr., and Virginia Warren Robins. She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Hubert L. Ferguson of Boxley, Arkansas, her two sons, John (Gloria) and Bill Ferguson of Conway, Arkansas, her daughter, Francie Bolter (Brian) of Mayflower, Arkansas, and 17 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her parents and her brother, Frank E. Robins III, preceded her in death.

Mary Virginia loved history and had a wonderful memory for names and dates. Born into a newspaper family—her grandfather was the publisher of the Log Cabin Democrat at the time of her birth—“Arney” began her love affair with history, absorbing the people, places and events of Conway as they were reported in the daily newspaper. She retained a wealth of information about her hometown, including its recovery from the Great Depression, its experience of World War II, and its accelerated growth in the post-war years. Her family both enjoyed and relied on her wonderful memory for facts and details. “Ask Mama--she’ll know” was a phrase her family uttered countless times.

Mary Virginia’s love of history influenced her educational pursuits. She attended Hendrix College, Randolph Macon College for Women, and Arkansas State Teacher’s College and received her undergraduate degree in History from George Washington University. Upon completing a Master’s in History from State College of Arkansas (now UCA) in 1968, she began teaching American History and American Government at Conway High School, where she taught for a decade.

MV was an early political activist as well as a proponent of historic preservation. She was an early member of the Conway League of Women Voters and was asked to join the Committee of 100, a state-wide women’s group formed in 1974 to support the newly established Ozark Folk Center. She was a member and officer of the Faulkner County Historical Society and played an important role in the establishment of the Faulkner County Museum.

Inspired by her mother who was a passionate gardener and her father, an avid fisherman, Mary Virginia grew up loving the outdoors. She attended Camp Kiwanis as a Girl Scout and later became a counselor there. She encouraged all three of her children to participate in scouting, and at various times she was a Cub Scout, Brownie Scout, and Girl Scout troop leader. She conceived of and directed a Girl Scout Day Camp on Cove Creek in northern Faulkner County for several summers, served on the board of the Ouachita Girl Scout Council, and was president of this Council for two terms.

Before “environmentalism” became a household word, Mary Virginia was an activist for respecting the natural world. She was an avid birdwatcher and an early member of the Arkansas Audubon Society; she obtained a license to band birds, an activity which produced important data about bird distribution. Mary Virginia credited Harold Alexander, of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and Ruth Thomas, a columnist for the Arkansas Gazette, with heightening her concern for the environment. The Arkansas Council of Garden Clubs of which she was a member became the first statewide organization to publicly petition to cease damning Arkansas streams and drowning rivers with deep impoundments. In 1971, MV rode the “Jubilee Bus” to Washington, D.C., with her son John and other Ozark society members where she testified before Congress in support of designating the Buffalo River as America’s first national river.

Mary Virginia loved canoeing, camping, and hiking with family and friends. She hiked notable canyons in Utah, rafted many western rivers, and hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim. A goal she cherished was that she had hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon at various times with each of her children and grandchildren. She and Hubert participated in Earthwatch trips to Utah, Australia, and Costa Rica and enjoyed many memorable birding trips in Central America, Africa, and India.

In 1980, Mary Virginia and Hubert achieved the dream of passing on the family printing business to their sons and purchased a farm in the Boxley valley of Newton County, Arkansas, through which the Buffalo River runs. This chapter of her life allowed her a deep enjoyment of her values: living a life tied to the rhythms of the natural world, connecting with the folkways of the Ozarks, enjoying the bounty of their farm and garden, and being a faithful steward of the natural environment.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, May 13, at 2 p.m. at the amphitheatre located next to the Ferguson Chapel at UCA. The service will be moved to the chapel in case of rain.

A gathering of remembrance will be held Saturday, May 24, at 11 a.m. at the Scroggins-Villines house in Boxley, Arkansas.

Memorial opportunities include the Ferguson-Robins Honors College Scholarship at the University of Central Arkansas or the Halberg Ecology Camp of the Arkansas Audubon Society.

Video of visit to the portion of the West Fork of the White River, featuring Sandi Formica

Restored portion of West Fork of White River, a tour with Fayetteville AR Environmental Action Committee with Sandi Formica

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

St. Louis, Missouri, takes responsibility for providing habitat for the dwindling population of Monarch butterflies

Milkweeds for Monarchs Initiative Update

The St. Louis Butterfly Project
Monarch-Butterflies
Published: 04-22-2014

Update 6.4.2014

The Milkweeds for Monarchs Initiative is underway.  Mayor Slay has committed to the City planting 50 monarch gardens, and is challenging the community to plant an additional 200 monarch gardens in 2014 to commemorate the City's 250th birthday year.

The City has created an online registration. Once your Milkweeds for Monarchs garden is planted, register your garden with us so we can track our progress toward the goal. Your personal information will not be displayed.  Registered gardens will appear on the Milkweed for Monarchs Map.

There are a variety of plants that will make your garden a success for attracting Monarchs. In partnership with community plant and butterfly experts, the City has created a STL Monarch Mix Brochure to serve as a reference in establishing your monarch garden. These plants have been carefully selected to provide the best combination of features for the butterflies and your personal enjoyment. These varieties were chosen to flower at different times of the growing season, offering seasonal color and important butterfly food and nectar sources.

The STL Monarch Mix consist of: (Photos courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden and Monarch Watch)

Whorled-Milkweed Common-Milkweed  

Swamp-Marsh-Milkweed Purple-Coneflower

New-England-Aster Bee-Balm-Bergamot

Goldenrod Butterfly-Weed


Original Post:

Famous for their remarkable annual migrations between Mexico and Canada, monarch butterflies are important participants in pollinating plants in our ecosystem. Yet, their population has declined 90 percent over the last two decades. Female monarchs depend on milkweed to lay their eggs and feed their caterpillar larvae. While other flower species can serve as nectar sources for butterflies, only milkweeds play host to monarch caterpillars enabling the monarch population to grow.
In honor of this year's Earth Day, Mayor Slay announced a new City sustainability initiative called 'Milkweeds for Monarchs.'
Mayor-planting-milkweeds"The goal of this project is to both increase the dwindling monarch butterfly population and to better connect people and urban nature," said Slay.
Mayor Slay has committed to the City planting 50 monarch gardens, and is challenging the community to plant an additional 200 monarch gardens in 2014 to commemorate the City's 250th birthday year.
"I will be planting one at City Hall and in my own yard at home. But, I'd like to see these butterfly gardens everywhere. They can go in your neighborhood's community garden, in front of your business or in your own yard," said Slay.
Access to nature can reduce stress and anxieties, nourishes the imagination, and provide important learning opportunities. STL Milkweeds for Monarchs also aligns with the City's Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative. Creating monarch gardens is also an opportunity to enhance a community's sense of place and to build relationships between neighbors.
In partnership with community plant and butterfly experts, the City has created a STL Monarch Mix Brochure to serve as a reference in establishing your monarch garden. These plants have been carefully selected to provide the best combination of features for the butterflies and your personal enjoyment. These varieties were chosen to flower at different times of the growing season, offering seasonal color and important butterfly food and nectar sources.
For updated information on the STL Milkweeds for Monarchs initiative and to receive recognition for creating a monarch garden, please visit stlouis-mo.gov/sustainability.

Bob Caulk invites volunteers to plan native species along of the upper portion of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River upstream on the UA campus in portion renamed by the UA as Mullins Creek in honor of a former Chancellor of the UA

Volunteers Needed to Help Plant 5 Rain Gardens 
 
We are planning to plant the U of A Rain Gardens along Mullins Creek on Tuesday, 
June 17 from 9 - 11:30 AM  There will be a pizza lunch following the planting! 
We hope to have lots of volunteers help plant 5 rain gardens on site!! It would 
be great to have 8-10 people for each site. 
 
We will be meeting at the south end of the Mullins Creek Stream Restoration 
project.  Lori Linn will have a registration table nearby.  Parking:  You can 
park in the parking lot there (Lot 56 at Razorback and Martin Luther King).  
Lori will provide you with a parking permission sign that you will need to place 
on the dash board of your car on the driver’s side (needs to be visible, so you 
do not get a ticket). 
 
Please bring planting tools and gloves if you have them. Thank you and we look 
forward to the planting!!! 
Bob

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Milkweed for Monarch butterfly caterpillars and as nectar plants for many other species of pollinators by Kansas City resident

Please click on image below for wider, enlarged view.
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on June 7, 2014.


Mary Nemecek Aubrey James Shepherd- here is the text if that helps. You are welcome to copy/share it.

Dear Eldon, MO City Council,


As a fellow Missourians, I have been following the issue with the area referred to as the 'airport wetland'. 

Today municipalities across the country are looking for ways to decrease mowing, which decreases city expenses and carbon emissions, and increasing native habitat. In Europe, this summer, fear is rising that there are not enough pollinators to pollinate their crops. In China, children are climbing to the top of apple trees to hand pollinate apple blossoms because they do not have enough pollinators to do so. Pollinators in North America are not exempt and efforts are underway all across America to increase habitat and hopefully reverse their sharp decline.

The concern has reached such a level of alarm that during the last week of April this year the first ever White House Pollinator Initiative Stakeholder Meeting was held in Washington, DC. It was attended by 60 conservationists, researchers, educators, farmers, beekeepers and corporate representatives. Dr. Michael Stebbins of the White House Office of Science Policy.
said that “there are many different stressors impacting various pollinators: habitat loss, pesticides, parasites and climate change. Because of that, we need a hands-on approach to better leverage everyone's investments to reverse the loss of pollinators.” The Xerces Society reported, "he (Michael Stebbins) also noted that pollinators are a diverse group—including bumble bees, monarch butterflies, and even beetles—and that President Obama is interested in this issue himself".

Kansas City is working to decrease roadside mowing and increasing native planting along roads. New shopping centers are using native plantings along drainage ditches and back lots. Businesses are creating rain gardens in low areas and Kansas City launched a 10,000 rain garden campaign several years ago to help resolve some of the burden on it's aging sewer system. Many of these are large, public ones maintained by the city and they are all to now include Swamp Milkweed.

My understanding of your wetland is it has native swamp milkweed. In 2013 the World Wildlife Federation declared the Monarch migration endangered. The caterpillar stage of Monarchs can feed only on milkweed. A precipitous decrease in milkweed due to habitat loss has meant this ambassador of pollinators may soon no longer be gracing the backyards and delighting children and adults from Canada to Mexico. 

Large nationwide campaigns asking homeowners to plant milkweed and nectar plants have been launched across the US. A recent study suggested Americans would contribute $4 billion from their household incomes to save the Monarch migration. Native plant sales in Kansas City this spring have sold thousands of native plants to go into homeowners yards as nectar and host plants for pollinators, especially the Monarch butterfly. Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) was also one of two species of milkweed planted in the new pollinator garden on the White House lawn by Michelle Obama.

Much of the state and country is stretching to find more habitat for Monarch butterflies and all pollinators. You have a gem in an area that naturally supports this. Something a community can rally around and school children can learn from. Grants can be gotten and positive attention can be garnered. I'm asking as a city council member you consider yourself not only a public servant of Eldon, MO, but also part of a larger picture. 

Eldon City Council, please re-consider your view on the airport wetland and capitalize on the gift you have, in a time when areas like this are becoming of more and more critical importance. I'm sure I share this view with many others outside of Eldon- please decide for the benefit of Eldon and all Missourians. We can make a difference now. It's not too late.


Sincerely,
Mary Nemecek, MBA
KCMO 
Missouri Master Naturalist
Burroughs Audubon Conservation Chair
Monarch Watch Volunteer

Friday, May 23, 2014

"Hay fields" owned by Arkansas' first and maybe still ONLY National Wildlife Federation certified wildlife habitat community should be mowed once in winter ONLY but never during spring, summer and fall to allow the native grass and wildflowers to dominate

  • Bid 14-33, Hay Fields for Lease - Parks and Recreation

    Deadline: Wednesday, June 11, 2014, before 2:00 PM, local time, Room 306 in City Hall

    Description:  The City of Fayetteville, AR is accepting sealed bids to cut, bale, and remove hay on Park land as listed in the specifications.  Any questions should be directed to Andrea Foren at 479-575-8220 or aforen@fayetteville-ar.gov.

    To obtain bidding documents:  Bid documents may be obtained by e-mailing Andrea Foren ataforen@fayetteville-ar.gov with company name, primary contact, phone number, fax number, e-mail address, and company address. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Photo slideshow on Fayetteville Public Access TV focused on native plants on John Ross Rule's woodland in upper Crawford County

Aubrey James Shepherd's short-take running May 4 to 9, 2014, on Cox Cable 218 in Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville and Fort Smith area at 11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday plus 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Also at same times on AT&T U-verse 99 plus on station's Internet site.
Also view more than 1,300 photos from John Rule's Road to Frog Bayou on Flickr.

John Rule reads selections of his poetry and prose on several videos on You Tube on my channel