April 13, 2023 – Managing Bald Knob NWR for the Birds

Chris Swanson, Project Leader, Central AR NWR Complex and
Paul Provence, Deputy Project Leader, Central AR NWR Complex

     Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most popular birding hotspots in Arkansas. Birders flock there, especially in the fall, for shorebirds, waterfowl, and waders. The refuge hosts birds in abundance, in large part, because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) manages habitat for them. Chris Swanson and Paul Provence will discuss their management regime for the refuge. Show them your appreciation, and ask questions about the work they do.

     Chris Swanson is the Project Leader for the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex (CARNWRC) which consists of: Holla Bend, Logan Cave, Bald Knob, Cache River, Big Lake, and Wapanocca. He is a 20-year veteran of the USFWS and has worked in four Regions, two Regional Offices, two National Wildlife Refuge Complexes, two Wetland Management Districts, and a state-wide Ecological Services Field Office. He served as the Project Leader at the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office where he provided leadership in the delivery of landscape-level conservation through implementation of Endangered Species Act. He earned a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University. 

     Paul Provence is the Deputy Project Leader for the CARNWRC. He obtained his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Louisiana State University and began his professional career in 2000 working for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in the bottomland hardwoods of northeast Arkansas. He then went on to work for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in the marshes of south Louisiana. Paul joined the USFWS in 2010 as a Biologist for the Southeast Louisiana Refuge Complex at Mandalay and Bayou Teche NWRs, and later served as a Biologist for the Central Louisiana Refuge Complex. In 2015, he returned to his home state of Arkansas to serve as the Refuge Manager for Bald Knob, Holla Bend and Logan Cave.

7PM via Zoom

March 11, 2023 – Delta Rivers Nature Center, Boyd Point Wastewater Facility, Lake Saracen, Wilbur West Road – Pine Bluff

     Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Dixon Rd. commuter lot, Exit 3 off I-530 South. We’ll arrive at the Delta Rivers Nature Center in Pine Bluff around 8:00 a.m. We’ll bird the parking lot until the Center opens at 8:30 a.m. The area has diverse habitats such as cypress and tupelo swamps, open water, and wetlands. Lingering sparrows, winter finches, wrens, egrets, and herons will be our main targets. Walking is on paved trails and board-walks. Next stop is the Boyd Point Wastewater Facility to look for ducks and gulls.  If time permits, we’ll also check Lake Saracen and Wilber West Road.

     Bring water, snacks, and lunch. The trip can last into the afternoon. Participants are welcome to leave at any time.

     Directions—From the Dixon Rd. commuter lot, take I-530 south to Pine Bluff for 35 miles until I-530 becomes Hwy. 65B (Exit 35). Go 6 miles, continuing past Lake Saracen. Turn left onto Regional Park Drive.  (Convention Center Dr.). Continue on Regional Park Drive approximately 1.2 miles. Turn right onto 1400 Black Dog Road. Follow signs to the Nature Center.

     Coordinates: 34.2394, -91.990,  www.deltarivers.com