Thirteen forestry and natural resource students at the University of Arkansas at Monticello recently spent two weeks traveling the state and region to learn more about efforts to restore endangered species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, the Indiana bat, and the speckled pocketbook mussel.
The class, Contemporary Natural Resource Issues, began with a trip to the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research in Anguilla, Miss., then followed with a study of tree establishment efforts and landowner incentives in Dermott.
Natural resource managers from Potlatch provided a demonstration of endangered species management at Moro Big Pine Wildlife Management Area between Hampton and El Dorado, discussing the company’s efforts to manage and support the red-cockaded woodpecker.
Another demonstration of efforts to save the red-cockaded woodpecker was provided at the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge in Ashley County by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service natural resource managers, who discussed prescribed fire to enhance habitat. UAM students received a first-hand view of the capture and banding of nestlings to allow wildlife managers to track the birds.
Students also viewed a prairie restoration project near Stuttgart, traveled to the Longview Access of the Saline River near Fountain Hill, Winrock Grass Farm near Russellville, the Ponca Elk Education Center near the Buffalo River, viewed a shortleaf pine-bluestem restoration project near Waldron, toured Blanchard Springs and discussed re-vegetation work to benefit bats at Foushee’s Natural Cave near Mountain View. The final stop for the class was a visit to a portion of Archey Fork Creek near Clinton to view a river restoration project.
In addition to meeting with natural resource managers from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Potlatch, students met with natural resource experts from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and The Nature Conservancy.
Each year, faculty from the School of Forestry and Natural Resources choose a contemporary issue of importance to natural resource management in Arkansas. “The purpose of the class is to make students more knowledgeable and connected with natural resource issues so they will be able to wisely and collectively manage our state’s natural resources for biodiversity, wildlife habitat, water and air quality, and environmentally friendly products,” said Dr. Phil Tappe, dean of the school.