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Exploring Arkansas July 2012

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Delta Rivers Nature Center, Garvan WoodlandGardens, Fort Curtis, Little Blakely Trail
Garvan Woodland Gardens near Hot Springs is an internationally respected botanical garden It's also one of top five botanical gardens in the nation The Delta Rivers Nature Center in Pine Bluff features bald eagles, a resident alligator, fish native to Arkansas and a trail system for viewing wildlife out in the wetland area. Fort Curtis in Helena is a re production of a Civil War earthen fort  the only one of its kind in the region The Little Blakely Trail System is comprised of several loop trails in the Ouachita National Forest. Open to hikers and mountain bikers, if offers spectacular views of Lake Ouachita.

TRANSCRIPT

HERE AT THE DELTA RIVERS NATURE CENTER IN PINE BLUFF YOU CAN GET UP CLOSE WITH THE NATIVE LIFE AND THE FISH SPECIES FOUND IN THE WATERS ALL OVER THIS AREA AND YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO GET WET. THE 2200-GALLON AQUARIUM IS LONG OF THE LARGEST IN THE STATE AND LETS VISITORS SEE THE FISH AS IF THEY WERE SCUBA DIVING. ARKANSANS ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE FOUR FREE NATURE CENTERS BUILD BY THE GAME COMMISSION WITH REVENUE FROM A STATE WIDE SALES TAX THAT WAS PASSED IN 1996. HERE AT THE DELTA RIVERS NATURE CENTER WE HAVE A WIDE VARIETY OF THINGS TO OFFER PEOPLE BESIDES THE MAIN BUILDING WHICH HAS THE INTERACTIVE EXHIBITS AND TOUCHY FEELY THINGS ALONG WITH THE LIVE ANIMALS AND OUTSIDE WE HAVE OTHER LIVE ANIMALS AND BALD EAGLE, AMERICAN ALLIGATOR.  WE HAVE A TRAIL SYSTEM ON THE PROPERTY SO PEOPLE CAN GET CLOSER TO NATURE.  WE HAVE TWO TRAIL SYSTEMS AND ONE WE REFER TO AS THE APPROVED TRAIL AND ADA COMPLIANT AND ASPHALT AND BOARD WALKS AND THAT STUFF.  IF YOU WANT TO GET CLOSER NATURE WE HAVE THE PRIMITIVE TRAIL SYSTEM AND A PATH IN THE WOODS SO IF YOU WANT TO GET CLOSER TO THE SNAKES AND ALLIGATOR AND THE POISON IVY AND ALL THAT GOOD STUFF  IT'S ALL OUT THERE.

A POPULAR TRIAL WITH MOST VISITORS IS THE DISCOVERY LOOP TRAIL AND GOES OUT TO THE NEAR BY WETLAND AREA PAVILION AREA ON BLACK DOG LAKE. ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS AT THE DELTA RIVERS NATURE CENTER IS THE GOOD OLD AMERICAN ALLIGATOR.

WE GET A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT ALLIGATORS IN THIS AREA. WE DO HAVE THEM UP AND DOWN THE ARKANSAS RIVER DO YOU AND THE WET LAND AREAS.  WE HAVE TWO SMALL ALLIGATORS INSIDE WHICH ARE ATTRACTIVE TO THE KIDS AND THEY LIKE TO SEE THEM UP CLOSE. WE USE THEM IN PROGRAMS BUT THE BIG BOY OUTSIDE GETS A LOT OF ATTENTION.  HE'S 9 FEET LONG. NOT FULL GROWN YET.  WE FEED HIM IN THE ALLIGATOR EXHIBIT EVERY SATURDAY AND IF YOU WANT TO SEE HIM MORE ACTIVE THAT'S A GOOD TIME TO SEE HIM GET FED.  HE DOESN'T DO A WHOLE LOT.  HE LIKES TO SWIM IN HIS POND, LAYS IN THE SUN.  HE HAS A ALLIGATOR SNAPPING TURTLE I GUESS YOU WOULD CALL A ROOMMATE AND THE TURTLE IS ABOUT 125-POUND SO WE HAD HOLD HIS OWN WITH THEIGATER AND POSSIBLE EXHIBIT HERE AND WE WILL GET MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ALLIGATOR THAN ANYTHING ELSE.

AND A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO SEE BALD EAGLE OR TWO HERE.

YEAH.  A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE HEARD ABOUT BALD EAGLES.  IF THEY SEEN THEM IN THE WILD THEY'RE AT A DISTANCE.  WE'RE LUCKY TO HAVE TWO YEAR AND THAT CAN YOU SEE UP CLOSE IN PERSON. ONE UNFORTUNATELY HAS A GUNSHOT WOUND AND HAS A WING APTATED. IT'S A SAD STORY BUT IT'S AN EDUCATIONAL STORY AND PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE IT DOES HAPPEN AROUND HERE OCCASIONALLY AND WE GET TO TEACH THEM ABOUT BALD EAGLES AND YOU CAN SEE THE TWO AND OUT AT THE RIGHT TIME AND PAYING ATTENTION SOMETIMES WE SEE THEM CIRCLING AROUND THE BUILDING.

AND IF YOU SHOULD HAPPEN TO COME HERE DURING INCH CLEMENT WEATHER NOT TO WORRY BECAUSE THERE ARE PLENTY OF IN DOOR EXHIBITS INCLUDING A HANDS ON LABORATORY.

BESIDES THE EXHIBITS THAT ARE AVAILABLE ALL THE TIME WE HAVE A LABORATORY AND WHEN IT'S NOT USED FOR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS WE HAVE GROUPS THAT COME IN AND DO FISH AND FROG DISSECTIONS AND LEAF DISSECTIONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT AND WHEN IT'S NOT IN USE IT'S SET UP FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC.  IT CHANGES FROM TIME TO TIME AND TOUCHY FEELY STUFF AND SKULLS AND A NEAT PLACE TO GET IN THAT LABORATORY SETTING AND MAYBE TO TOUCH THINGS AND SEE THINGS CLOSER THAN YOU WOULD OUT IN THE WOODS.

SO PAY A VISIT FOR YOURSELF TO THE DELTA RIVERS NATURE CENTER IN PINE BLUFF AND MAKE LIKE A DEER OR A ALLIGATOR OR A TURTLE OR A EAGLE OR A CATFISH OR WELL, YOU GET THE IDEA.

BUILT UPON THE VISION OF VERNA GARVAN WHO DONATED THE PRODUCT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AND GARVAN WOODLAND GARDENS IS INTERNATIONALLY RENOWND AND ONE OF THE TOP FIVE IN THE NATION AND YOU WILL SEE WHY.  GARVAN WOODLAND GARDENS IS INDEED WHAT THE NAME SAYS, NOT JUST A BO TAN CAL GARDEN BUT A WOODLAND  GARDEN AND IF THAT ISN'T ENOUGH HAS MILES OF THE SHORELINE.

ONE THING WE'RE WORKING ON IS REALLY WORKING CLASS IN DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION AND WE'RE TRYING REALLY HARD TO SHOW FOLKS HOW YOU DO THINGS RIGHT, AND ONE OF OUR BIG THINGS OUT HERE IS TO BE SENSITIVE TO THE SITE AND MAKE SURE WHAT YOU BUILD IS APPROPRIATE FOR THE LOCATION SO WE WORK REALLY HARD TO SHOW THAT YOU CAN HAVE A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN WITHOUT DESTROYING ALL THE BEAUTY IN NATURE.

I LIKED THE FLOWERS.

LOTS OF FLOWERS HUH?  TELL US WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FIRST THINGS HAVE BEEN?  THE TRAINS? THE PEACOCKS?  WATERFALLS?

THE WATERFALLS.

WHAT ABOUT THE FISH?

I LIKE THE FISH.  WE HAVE LIKE -- I SAW SOME GOLD FISH AND WE HAVE GOLD FISH SO I REALLY LIKE THEM.

I KNOW.  THEY'RE LIKE GIANT GOLD FISH, AREN'T THEY?

YEAH.

WHAT ELSE?  IS THERE A FAVORITE FLOWER THAT YOU HAVE SEEN?  YOU LIKE THEM ALL LIKE I DO?

I LIKE THEM ALL.

THERE YOU GO. A GOOD REASON TO BRING CHILDREN TO GARVAN GARDENS AND THE CHILDRENS' GARDEN AND ADVENTURE IT IS AND KIDS CAN EXPLORE WITH A CAVE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND FOR A GENERATION THAT IS SEDENTARY WITH THE MEDIA DIVERSION AND WATERFALLS ARE SOMETHING YOU CAN ENJOY HERE AT GARVAN WOODLAND GARDENS. THERE'S ALSO A MODEL TRAIN GARDEN. AND PEACOCKS WHICH FOR THE MOST PART LIVE IN RAIN FORESTS BUT CAN BE ENJOYED HERE IN THE TREES. GARVAN WOODLAND GARDENS IN FACT CAN BE ENJOYED YEAR ROUND.

OF COURSE EVERYBODY THINKS ABOUT GARDENS IN THE SPRINGTIME. IT'S CERTAINLY A PRETTY TIME HERE AND THE SPRINGTIME FLOWERS LIKE DAFFODILS, TU LIPS AND HAVE THOUSANDS OF FLOWERS OUT HERE. WE PLANTED 125,000 TU LIPS AND ESTIMATE THAT JUST AN ESTIMATE BECAUSE THEY'RE MULTIPLYING FOR YEARS AND WE HAVE A QUARTER OF MILLION DAFFODILS OUT HERE AND THAT'S THE SHOW IN THE SPRING AND THERE ARE PANSIES AND A LOT OF STUFF THAT YOU WILL SEE OUT HERE DURING THE SPRINGTIME. THE BEST BIGGEST SHOW THOUGH IS THE TULEIPS FOR THE WHOLE YEAR. THERE IS NOTHING THAT WE DO WHICH IS MORE COLORFUL THAN THAT AND THAT WILL TRANSITION INTO SUMMER WITH THESE FLOWERS THAT WE SEE HERE TODAY AND THE EARLY ONES START IN SPRING, MAYBE THE FIRST OF MAY, THE EARLY ONES AND WE WILL HAVE THEM IN BLOOM IN AUGUST WITH THE LATE PG TYPE AND LOTS OF HYDRANGEAS AND I HAVE LOST COUNT OF HOW MANY WE HAVE BUT PROBABLY A THOUSAND PLANTS AT LEAST, BUT OF COURSE THE OTHER THING IN THE SUMMER ARE THE PLANTS THAT LOVE HEAT AND ROSE OF SHARIN AND IMPATIENCE AND ONE OF THE SUN COAND A PLANT AND WE HAVE ALL THE TYPICAL SUMMER THINGS.  WE PROBABLY AT ANY ONE TIME DURING THE SUMMER HAVE AT LEAST 50 DIFFERENT PLANTS IN BLOOM OUT HERE AND NOT A LOT OF THOSE                 AND ONE OF THE WHEN PEOPLE COME TO HELENA THEY ALWAYS WANT TO KNOW WHERE WAS FORT CURTIS LOCATED?  WHAT WAS IT LIKE?  THEY WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VETERANS UP IN THE HILLS HERE BUT THEY WERE DIFFICULT TO GET TO AND IN PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL'S OWNERSHIP SO THE CONCEPT WAS IF WE COULD COME UP WITH THE FORTITSELF, A REPLICA AND BUILD IT AND IT WOULD BE SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WOULD HAVE A SENSE OF WHAT THE CIVIL WAR WAS LIKE AND FORT CURTIS WAS LIKE, SO THE PLAN WAS PUT IN PLACE IN AUGUST OF 1993 TO TRY TO COME UP WITH THE PLANS AND ACTUALLY EXECUTE THOSE PLANS TO BUILD A FORT.

THE FIRST FORTS WERE MODIFIED VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL FORTS.

DURING  WILL CIVIL WAR EARLY ON THERE WAS MASONRY FORTS AND THEY WOULD FALL LIKE A STACK OF CARDS AND WHAT YOU SEE HERE IS PRETTY TYPICAL OF THE FORTS.  NOW, WHAT IS INTERESTING THE TYPE OF GUNS.  THESE COME OFF OF SHIPS AND FIRE TREMENDOUS ROUNDS.  THEY FIRE ALSO EXPLODING ROUNDS SO YOU GET AN IDEA OF ABOUT WHAT A FORTINSTALLATION WAS LIKE LOOKING HERE AT FORT CURTIS.

AND IN ALL THERE WOULD BE QUITE A FEW GUNS HERE.

RIGHT.  AT LEAST SIX GUNS THAT WERE IN PLACE, AND ALSO THE SUPPORTIVE BATTERIES -- THEY WOULD HAVE ANYWHERE FROM THREE TO MAKE FOUR GUNS, BUT MUCH SMALLER GUNS AND WOULD SUPPORT THE MAJOR INSTALLATION, THE MAJOR WORK ITSELF.  HELENA HAS ALWAYS BEEN A TOURIST DESTINATION.  THERE ARE PEOPLE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY THAT KNOW ABOUT IT JUST LIKE GETTY BURG AND  VICKS BERG AND THAT CAMPAIGN AND ANYONE WILL KNOW ALSO ABOUT HELENA AND IT BRINGS INTO FOCUS THE INVOLVEMENT OF NOT ONLY WHITE AND BLACK TROOPS.  FROM FEBRUARY OF 1864 THROUGH THE END OF THE WAR HELENA -- SORRY, FORT CURTIS AND THE BATTERIES WERE MANNED BY BLACK TROOPS.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU DIDN'T LEARN ABOUT AT SCHOOL?

I DIDN'T KNOW THAT CANNONS CAN MAKE SO MUCH NOISE AND I DIDN'T KNOW ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS THE HEAD OF THE WAR.

THEY ALSO WORE THE BLUE UNIFORMS.

IT'S NEAT BECAUSE WE GET TO LEARN WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CIVIL WAR AND WHAT IS GOING ON FROM NOW TO THEN.

A LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN GETTING IT ALL FROM A TEXTBOOK?

YES IT IS.

AND THE THING THAT WAS INTERESTING TO ME THAT WAS --

TODAY I LEARNED LIKE THE WOMEN -- THEY HAD TO WEAR DRESS -- A FIVE LAYER DRESS AND THE MEN HAD TO WEAR A WOOL SUIT AND I BET THEY WAS HOT BUT THEY SAID IT WAS EVERY LITTLE BREATH FEEL GOOD.

RONNIE NICKELS AND A FORMER DIRECTOR AND LIVING IN WASHINGTON DC AREA HAS A DREAM OF BUILDING --

BACK THEN THERE WAS A LOT THEY HAD TO GO THROUGH AND THE SLAVES HAD TO COME HERE TO GET THEIR FREEDOM.

I HAVE LEARNED ALL ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR AT SCHOOL.  THEY TEACH US SO THAT'S IT.

I HAVE READ A FIRE REE GOSPEL AND ROWS WILL STEEL AND DEAL WITH MY CONTENTORS AND GRACE SHALL DEAL AND THE HERO BORN OF WOMAN CRUSH THE SERPENT WITH HIS HEEL SINCE GOD IS MARCHING ON.

GLORY, GLORY HALLELUIAH. GLORY, GLORY HALLELUIAH. GLORY, GLORY HALLELUIAH, HIS TROOP IS MARCHING ON. [APPLAUSE]

THE LITTLE BLAKELY TRAIL SYSTEM IS SEVERAL TRAILS AND LOCATED ON A PENINSULA NOT FAR FROM LAKE OUACHITA STATE PARK AND AVAILABLE FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING AND HIKING SO LET'S GIVE IT A WHIRL. FROM LAKE OUACHITA STATE PARK TAKE HIGHWAY 227 PASSED END OF THE PAYMENT TO THE FOREST ROAD 200 ABOUT THREE AND A HALF MILES TO THE TRIAL HEAD.  THE TOTAL LENGTH WITH THE LOOPS COMBINE SIDE ABOUT 18 MILES OR SO. THE DIFFICULT OF THE TRAIL SZ IS RATED MODERATE TO STRENUOUS AND ALLOW FOUR TO 10 HOURS PER LOOP IF YOU'RE HIKING. IF YOU'RE A BEGINNING TO INTERMEDIATE MOUNTAIN BIKER SOME OF THE AREAS ALONG THE TRAIL CAN BE QUITE INTIMIDATING AND DIFFICULT TO MANEUVER ESPECIALLY OVER THE NARROW FOOT BRIDGES SO IF YOU'RE IN DOUBT OR THE LEAST BIT HESITANT IT'S PROBABLY BEST TO LEAVE THE MOUNTAIN BIKE BEHIND AND JUST STICK TO THE HIKING. WHICHEVER WAY YOU CHOOSE TO TACKLE THE LOOPS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE SPECTACULAR VIEWS OF LAKE OUACHITA STATE PARK AND OF COURSE CARRYING PLENTY OF WATER IS A MUST BECAUSE OF THE HUMANITY AND HEAT. I MIGHT ALSO ADD UNDER THE FIRST FOOT BRIDGE THERE IS A REALLY NICE CREEK WHERE YOU CAN TIME TO RELAX AND LET THE SOUND OF THE WATER DO ITS SOOTHING WONDERS AND AS VIDEOGRAPHER ADMICHAD HOLIDAY TOOK THE LIBERTY OF DOING.

SO GRAB YOUR HIKING SHOES OR MOUNTAIN BIKE AND BLAZE ALONG ON THE LITTLE BLAKELY TRAIL SYSTEM IN THE NATIONAL FOREST AND WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THIS OR OTHERS VISIT OUR WEBSITE AND DON'T FORGET TO LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME ON ANOTHER EXCITING VENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS".

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