All posts by Joseph

Master Naturalists Class

By Robin Harris

What is a Master Naturalist anyway?” Well, the answer may depend on which one you talk to.
They’re all volunteers, but their interests range widely. Some really enjoy cleaning up area hiking trails, while others have fun looking for tiny critters in local creeks. Some like identifying and mapping native plants and wildlife in state parks. Others derive satisfaction from coaxing wildflowers to bloom in a meadow or cultivating native and other plants useful to early Ozark inhabitants.
However, they all love learning more about nature, while doing what they can to keep the natural state natural. And every fall they start hunting for more like-minded individuals.
The Foothills Chapter of the Arkansas Master Naturalists (FAMN) recently opened applications for a new class of volunteers for 2019, according to chapter president Larry Fliss.
The course for “Naturalists in Training” begins January 26 and concludes with graduation May 6. The application form and class schedule are available on this web page: (Scroll down to “FAMN.”)
FAMN members also organize purely recreational activities, such as hiking trips on area nature trails and float trips, he added.
Ongoing projects include monthly stream water monitoring. Stream team members evaluate local creeks by testing water chemistry and collecting and counting bugs and other critters in five different creeks and rivers.
Another team has been identifying and mapping GPS locations of wild plants and animals. Their observations have been gathered in a database that nature lovers can search on the Internet.
“We host a variety of volunteer opportunities,” Fliss says, “and many of our members work on more than one team.”
New members’ classes begin January 21. Of the 80 hours offered, only 40 hours are required to become a certified Master Naturalist. The class is limited to 30 applicants, so Fliss urges interested persons to apply soon.
For more information, prospective volunteers may contact Larry Fliss at or 501-339-7477

Batesville Parks to offer Swim Your Resolution challenge for the month of January.

Brandon Shrader

Looking to kickstart your 2019 the right way? Well look no further because Batesville Parks and Recreation is offering just the thing. For the entire month of January, the parks department is excited to introduce a challenge to Swim Your Resolution! The Swim Your Resolution program is a long-distance swim challenge where participants have the option to swim a 5K (3.1 miles), 10k (6.2 miles), or a 20k (12.4 miles) throughout the month of January. Batesville Parks and Recreation will also offer a “Beast Mode” challenge for advanced swimmers who may opt to do all three options which would total 35K (21.7 miles). All participants will receive a long sleeve t-shirt for registering and a medal upon completion of the program with registration cost being $25 for members and $30 for guests. Community Center memberships are not included but are sold separate in 10 day, monthly, and annual passes.

The Swim Your Resolution monthly challenge is just one of a complete series of challenges planned out for 2019.  As a part of the 2019 Ultimate Wellness Challenge, Batesville Parks and Recreation is providing a 365-day wellness challenge encouraging everyone to participate and be the best you in 2019! This will include five other challenges throughout the year and other racing events yet released. Find out more about the Ultimate Wellness Challenge and Swim Your Resolution at . You can register online or at the Community Center front desk, the deadline is January 14th.