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ANHC Staff Present at Regional and National Professional Conferences

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Monday, March 30, 2020

Three ANHC staff members presented at regional and national professional conferences this February/March. ANHC Aquatic Ecologist, Dustin Lynch, made two presentations at the Southern Division of American Fisheries Society (SDAFS) meeting; ANHC Outreach Specialist, Leslie Patrick presented at the regional conference of the National Association for Interpretation (NAI); and ANHC Chief of Research, Theo Witsell presented at the regional meeting of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Lynch presented on Devil’s Eyebrow Natural Area (NA) and co-authored five additional talks at the SDAFS meeting, including topics such as rare darter surveys, crayfish conservation ranking, and land acquisition for aquatic species. He also served as a mentor at the student-mentor luncheon. Lynch has served as the secretary of the Arkansas chapter of the organization and was awarded a plaque for his service.

According to their website, the SDAFS was established in 1952 and is comprised of nearly 1,900 American Fisheries Society (AFS) members from the southern states who meet regularly to discuss research findings and management applications pertaining to the region. The mission of the AFS is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals.

Patrick presented “The Wonderful World of Woodpeckers” at the NAI Region 6 conference. The NAI is a private, nonprofit, international association for professionals in natural and cultural interpretation (on-site informal education programs at parks, zoos, nature centers, historic sites, museums, and aquaria). Patrick is a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) with the NAI, a certification that requires an initial 32-hour course in both the theoretical foundations of the profession of interpretation and practical skills in delivering quality interpretive programming to visitors. Patrick attends continuing education courses to maintain her certification.

Witsell gave a presentation on species and habitats of conservation concern on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) properties across Arkansas at a gathering of 80 natural resource, management, and enforcement staff of the USACE. The USACE provides public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen national security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters.

By highlighting these recent presentations and involvement in national professional organizations, we shed light on the specialties and skills that ANHC’s staff possess. Even though the ANHC is a small agency, our members are recognized nationally as professionals in their fields.


Top – Aerial photo of Devil's Eyebrow Natural Area by drone.  Photo by Bryan Rupar.

Bottom – ANHC Outreach Specialist, Leslie Patrick, presenting to fellow parks and nature interpreters at the NAI Region 6 conference. The program focused on inspiring other interpreters to come up with ideas for woodpecker programs and props they can use at their sites. Photo by Rachel Engebrecht.


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