Don Culwell, Programs and Services Chair for SFNC addressed the Ozark Society’s spring meeting at the Ferncliff Conference Center in West Little Rock on April 15. Other speakers for the meeting included Chris McRae, world-wide solar energy expert, who described solar installations in Haiti and Honduras. Faron Usrey, a Buffalo River Stream Biologist for the State Park Service Research Learning Center, addressed the River from a standpoint of using science and education to preserve and protect the free flowing stream.
Culwell introduced South Fork as a place where education and a love of the out-of-doors brings wide variety of groups of all ages to interact with nature. He described a recent session with 9th graders where the structure and function of flowers aided the biology of plants. Colorful petals attract pollinators…or wind carries light weight pollen, each pollen grain carrying two sperm nuclei “in search of” the female pistil. As the enlivened sexual discussion within the group proceeded, one concerned guy, realizing his allergies and the pollen interaction with the mucous membranes of his nose, piped up “you mean, I have sperm in my nose?” The answer “well, yes, but they will not find a pistil.”
Recognition of flowers as the “plant tool” bringing together genetic information from two parents and the ensuing production of seeds able to enhance the plant population in the woods and glades allowed students to think along new liners as they left the cabin for a walk in the woods.