As if celebrating 29 new members and several exceptional volunteers on a gorgeous spring day in early May weren’t enough, NCAMN also received a grant from the Twin Lakes Community Foundation during the chapter’s annual graduation picnic. Ceremonies commenced as members polished off another scrumptious pot luck luncheon.
New members accepted their certificates, t-shirts and name badges with the enthusiasm for which they have become known during their four months of classes, field work, and volunteer projects. Four class members had already amassed more than the 40 hours required for first-year certification, including Pam Sinning (61.75), Rebecca Lang (46.25), Karen Woods (44.25), and Ginger Turk (40.75). With three weeks left in the NCAMN year, there may be more certifications in the class by May 31.
Two long-time members were also recognized with special awards during the ceremonies.
Alice Snyder, AMN webmaster, received the state President’s Award, which is presented only occasionally to a member who makes an exceptional contribution to the statewide organization. Alice has worked many hours, seemingly tirelessly, to revamp the AMN website and move it to a different platform. Although the new website is not quite ready for prime time, Alice has devoted not only a lot of time but the extraordinary attention to detail that such a task requires.
Deb Fleming, NCAMN curriculum chair, accepted the chapter’s Volunteer of the Year award, having almost single-handedly organized not only the extensive coursework for this year’s Naturalists-in-Training (NiT) class, but also several advanced training sessions for all members. New members commented on how much they learned during the classes and how much they appreciated Deb’s careful attention to detail and to their needs during the course. In fact, Jeff Hoeper—on behalf of the 2014 class—presented Deb with a Truck Patch gift card, as a token of the class’s gratitude and esteem.
Also recognized were chapter members who had served sufficient volunteer and advanced training hours to certify for one-, two-, three-, and four-year pins and certificates.
In another exciting development, Twin Lakes Community Foundation (TLCF) director Janice Fletcher presented a check for $1,000 to NCAMN president Roy Stovall. The grant will help purchase tools for the chapter’s Trail Team. The Team recently completed work on a new trail between the trail system in Roy Danuser City Park in Bull Shoals and the Visitor Center trail in Bull Shoals-White River State Park, while continuing to maintain and repair trails along Norfork and Bull Shoals Lakes and elsewhere. A local affiliate of the Arkansas Community Foundation, TLCF provides community grants in Baxter, Fulton, Izard and Marion Counties.
Amid frog calls from those trained in his FrogWatch classes, Tom Krohn, Arkansas FrogWatch Chapter Coordinator, discussed FrogWatch activities and asked for help in a drawing from among those who’d contributed to the organization in recent months. The prize was a quilt contributed by NCAMN member Carol Beasley. The winner was Colby Sharp, who’d attended the class in Springdale, AR. The raffle raised almost $650.00 for the organization this year.
President-elect Anne Criss briefed the chapter on plans for a memorial shelf at the Marion County Library in honor of chapter member Marty Hartzler, who passed away in February. At Marty’s family’s request, donations were requested in lieu of flowers to benefit NCAMN, and the chapter Board decided to use the funds to purchase nature and guide books for the library. A special shelf will be dedicated to house the books, which will include a tribute album with information about Marty and her work with NCAMN.
President Roy Stovall closed the celebration expressing gratitude to Joan Barker and her committee for organizing not only the annual dinners and picnics but also NiT class refreshments.