Amanda Mathis, Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships, NRCS
Because so much of Arkansas’s land is privately owned, private landowners have a large role to play in environmental conservation. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners with taking measures to conserve their soil, water, and wildlife. Amanda Mathis will provide an overview of these conservation programs and the environmental benefits achieved through voluntary conservation efforts across Arkansas.
Amanda Mathis began her career with NRCS in 2004, and has served in various positions including District Conservationist in Carroll and White Counties. She currently serves as the Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships, where she works with conservation partners (such as Audubon Arkansas) to provide information on conservation programs and issues, and enhance collaborative efforts to achieve common conservation goals. Amanda leads the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and the Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) for the state. She holds a B.S. in Conservation and Wildlife Management from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO, and a M.S. in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences from the University of Arkansas. She and her husband reside on a small cow-calf operation in White County.
Meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Mayflower commuter lot off I-40 West at Exit 135. We’ll carpool to Delaware Park, located on the southwest side of Lake Dardanelle. We should arrive at the Delaware Park boat ramp around 8:45 a.m. for anyone who wants to meet us there. We’ll scan the lake for gulls, pelicans, loons, mergansers, ducks, grebes, and eagles. A rare gull or duck is a possibility. The lake can be very cold and windy. Dress in layers, including gloves and hats.
Next, we’ll caravan to the Holla Bend NWR headquarters’ parking lot. There is a $4.00 entrance fee per vehicle. A duck stamp or a National Parks pass will get a vehicle in for free. Our target birds will be raptors, including nesting Bald Eagles, also swans, ducks, geese, and sparrows. At Holla Bend, there will be some walking in tall grass, so boots are recommended. Bring snacks, lunch, and plenty of water. We’ll return to Little Rock late afternoon.
Directions from the town of Dardanelle to Delaware Park: At the junction of Hwy. 7 and Hwy. 22, go west on Hwy 22 approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto Hwy. 393, which is the first road on your right after you cross the long causeway at the west end of the lake. Hwy. 393 dead ends at Delaware Park. GPS coordinates: 35.295749, -93.271458. For more information about the Holla Bend NWR, go to http://www.fws.gov/hollabend/. The headquarters is located at 10448 Holla Bend Road, Dardanelle, AR 72834. GPS coordinates: 35.163222, -93.093477.