FTN’ers Love to Volunteer!

Our employees can be found in many different places, in various situations, giving their time, sweat, and money to several organizations and agencies. Here is why they volunteer, in their own words:

Christina Laurin, Environmental Scientist

I am working in one of the heritage herb gardens at the Ozark Folk Center State Park, removing White Oak seedlings.I volunteer for state parks and natural resources agencies with the Arkansas Master Naturalists. Much of my recent volunteer work has been with land resources, including planting native pollinator gardens at Blanchard Springs Caverns and collecting native plant seeds at a prairie preserve. I am a member of the Arkansas Master Naturalists for the same reason I work in the environmental field: I believe it is important to protect and restore the environment that supports us. As a Master Naturalist, I get to meet and spend time with like-minded people, learn more about the natural resources of Arkansas, and volunteer with natural resources agencies active in my area, like Arkansas State Parks, Ozark National Forest, and Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.

Kevin Schanke, Ecologist/Environmental Scientist

I am holding a native bowfin and explaining to one of our attendees how to distinguish it from a non-native snakehead. One of my scientist-buddies from FTN, Blake Griffis, was there to assist also.

I volunteered to lead the fish collection portion of the Fourche Creek Bioblitz and River Clean up in Little Rock. Friends of Fourche Creek hosts a spring and fall river clean up at Interstate Park every year. For the first time last fall, they decided to also include a Bioblitz, with experts in fisheries, herpetology, ornithology, and botany cataloging the biological diversity of Fourche Bottoms. Experts took volunteers to various areas within the Park and demonstrated the basics of their respected fields. These volunteers then got to participate in the collection and identification of the local biology. This event sometimes attracts hundreds of people interested in the environment.”