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Earnings from the Ruth Thomas Scholarship Fund pay full tuition to a camp or workshop for an applicant who will use the training received in the field of environmental education. The scholarship(s) may be awarded annually by the Arkansas Audubon Society Trust. The recipient(s) may choose the camp or workshop he or she wishes to attend and is responsible for transportation to and from the site. The Trust has the discretion to award an additional travel stipend. It’s not required but we would appreciate you doing an article for the newsletter or a presentation at a state meeting

Please send your application to Dr. DAN SCHEIMAN at . Include your name, contact information, which camp you would be interested in attending, the reason for your attendance, how it would make you a better educator, your availability for presentation at an AAS meeting or article for the AAS newsletter and a requested dollar amount. Half-a-page to one page is plenty. DUE DATE JAN 25th.

 Mrs. Ruth Harris Thomas, aged 72, of Morrilton, author of the Gazette's Sunday feature, 'The Country " for nearly 40 years, died in 1973. In the fall of 1923 after her graduation from LSU, where she edited the weekly newspaper, Mrs. Thomas got her first newspaper job as a reporter for the Gazette and married Rowland Thomas, associate editor of the Gazette in 1927.
In 1932, J. N. Heiskell, editor of the Gazette, showed Thomas several one paragraph features called 'Country Diary,' which he had clipped from the Manchester Guardian. Mr. Heiskell told Thomas that he always had wanted the Gazette to carry a similar series.  Mrs. Thomas began the weekly feature 'The Country Diarist' which had continued with few interruptions.
Mrs. Thomas was the author of two books, 'Crip Come Home' and 'Brush Goat, Milk Goat.' The first, published in 1952 by Harper Brothers is the true story of a long-lived brown thrasher, with the personal lives of the Thomases as the background. The second was a fictional story based on her experience with a small herd of Toggenberg milk goats. It was published in 1957. She was the author of several articles on birds for scientific journals, including "A Study of Eastern Bluebirds in Arkansas,' the first comprehensive study on the species. Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Margaret M. Nice of Chicago, an internationally famous ornithologist, wrote a detailed scientific study of "A Nesting of the Carolina Wren." They observed the nesting process from the porch of the Thomas home during Mrs. Nice's six-week visit there.
Mrs. Thomas was a member of the American Ornithologists Union since 1935. In 1950, she was chosen an elective member for her distinguished work. She was a member of the Wilson Ornithological Club and the Northeastern Bird-Banding Association, Inc. In 1937 Mrs. Thomas applied to the United States Biological Survey for a permit to band birds. She was an active bander until the last few months of her life. Many of the bird characters in the Country Diarist were banded with the government's aluminum and colored plastic identification markings.
Mrs. Thomas' influence and circle of friends and correspondents provided the germ around which the Arkansas Audubon Society was formed in the mid1950's. Especially during its early years, the Society's activities were publicized and reported in Ruth's column along with bird observations of special interest that were sent to her.
A few years after its formation, the Arkansas Audubon Society established the Ruth Thomas Scholarship, whereby it sent an Arkansas teacher each summer
to one of the National Audubon Society's Conservation training camps. As the state Society grew in membership and means, it broadened the program to send two teachers each year.
In a specially called business meeting Monday night, February 12, 1973 the Pulaski County Audubon Society approved two special expenditures as tributes to the memory of Ruth Thomas: It voted to underwrite a third recipient of the Ruth Thomas Scholarship award for 1973 and to contribute the sum of $250 to the newly established Arkansas Audubon Society Trust.



Earnings from the Iola Rea Fund provide a scholarship for expenses (housing, registration, meals) for two outstanding campers from the previous year’s Halberg Ecology Camp and a parent or guardian to attend the Spring meeting of Arkansas Audubon Society. Transportation to the meeting is the responsibility of the recipients of the scholarship. The Halberg Ecology Camp Committee selects the recipients of this scholarship. One can not apply for this award as the selection is made from Halberg Ecology Camp campers.

The Iola Rea Fund was named to honor Iola Rae, a charter  member of Arkansas Audubon Society from Little Rock. She served as secretary and convention chairman.  She was the force behind the formation  of Pulaski County Audubon Society (now the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas) in December, 1953. She served this organization as president, historian and other elective offices. Iola Rea had a deep interest in purple martins and her annual talk would fill the auditorium of the Game and Fish Commission Bldg. For years she operated a "bird hospital" for sick and injured birds. Upon her death in 1977, her husband, John, made a donation to Arkansas Audubon Society in her memory which was used to begin the Iola Rea Fund.


At the Spring 1989 meeting, the Arkansas Audubon Society Board of Directors authorized the creation of a Special Committee on the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) in Arkansas. The initial tasks of this special committee were to create a slide show on the history of the RCW in Arkansas, help organize groups to adopt colonies of RCWs, and make a special award recognizing the conservation efforts of individuals, groups, businesses or government agencies that have made unique contributions in the effort to protect the Arkansas populations of this highly endangered bird.

The AAS Board accepted a proposal to name this award for Shug and Luvois Shugart of El Dorado. The Shugarts had been stalwarts of the Society and had been in the forefront of efforts to alert the state to the critical situation of this bird. For three decades, the Shugarts were a source of support and inspiration to RCW workers in Arkansas. Without their work in the 1960s of locating and counting colonies of the woodpecker, the bird could have been extripated in Southern Arkansas. For his work in RCW conservation, Shug was awarded the prestigious American Motors Conservation Award.

The Award consists of public recognition at a meeting of the Arkansas Audubon Society of a person's work in the conservation of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and a limited edition pen and ink print by David Plank of two RCW at a nesting cavity.


Shug and Luvois Shugart, El Dorado , 1989
Ruth McDonald, Forester, Felsenthal NWR 1990
Warren Montague, Forester, Ouachita National Forest Service 1990
Jane Stern, Pine Bluff, posthumously 1990
Douglas A. James, Professor, UAF 1991
Sterling Lacy, Magnolia, 1992
Thurman Jordan, Ft. Smith, 1992
William Shepherd, Little Rock, 1994
John Sheen, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, 1994
Tom Foti, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission1996
Dawn Carrie, Sam Houston National Forest, 1998
Keith Piles, Wildlife Tech, Ouachita National Forest 2002
Bill Holliman, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission 2005
Larry Hedrick, Biologist, Ouachita National Forest 2010
Joe Neal, Biologist, Ouachita National Forest 2013
Dan Brown, Biologist, Ouachita National Forest 2014 2010

                         ROSS JAMISON SCHOLARSHIP

The Ross Jamison Scholarship was formed in 1981 by Pat Moore and Atha Jamison for the purpose of providing a scholarship for young persons to attend the Halberg Ecology Camp. Ross loved birding with young people. His own outdoors awareness began with his boyhood days on a farm. Without binoculars or field guides he learned not only birds, but every wild thing found on the farm. He was expert at identifying birds by song. His interest in nature delighted him throuighout life, sustained him in his older years and aroused a spark even during his final days. It is fitting that his love of birding and natural lore be passed along to future generations through sending young people to the Halberg Ecology Camp.



    At the April 30 spring meeting of the Arkansas Audubon Society in Harrison, the Arkansas Audubon Society Board announced the establishment of the AAS Service Award to be given to individuals or groups who have demonstrated over an extended period of time outstanding contributions to the Arkansas Audubon Society, its adjuncts, development, and goals.
   The first recipients of this award are deservedly Max and Helen Parker of Little Rock. Furthermore, the award will henceforth be known as the Arkansas Audubon Society Parker Service Award. Max and Helen Parker have had positive impacts in a variety of germinal projects of AAS. One of these is their input in the creation and development of the Arkansas Audubon Society Trust which gives environmental research and educational grants to graduate students at Arkansas universities.
    Second, in 1979 they have helped start and sustain the Halberg Ecology Camp for 11- and 12-year-olds.
    Third, they have served as leaders for years on the AAS Board of Directors, committees involved in state bird record keeping, fiscal activities and membership. Helen served as Treasurer for many years. Max served as Curator of Records from 1986-2007.
    Beyond the AAS, the Parkers have been leaders in the Christmas bird counts, assessing census plots for Arkansas Breeding Bird Atlas, managing the annual breeding bird survey and banding numerous rare hummingbirds.

Awardees: Max and Helen Parker, 2004; Art and Martha Johnson, 2005; Sterling and Loice Lacy, 2007; Pat Moore, 2008; Martha Milburn, 2010; Barry Haas, 2013.

Parker Service Award Details

The Parker Service Award will be presented by the President of the AAS at the spring convention. A committee comprised of the two most recent recipients of the award plus two Arkansas Audubon Society members appointed by the President will select the recipient of the Award. The award will be granted to members who have, over an extended period, provided exceptional service to the Society. While the Award may be given less than annually, it may not be given more than once per year. Any member of the Society may submit a suggestion to the President who will transmit this submission to the committee.



Arkansas Audubon Society Trust Research Award

These awards are funded from interest earned on the AAS Trust Endowment. Each year about eight awards in the $400-$700 range are made for research on the ecology of birds. Most applicants are graduate students at Arkansas colleges and universities although that is not a requirement. For a list of recent awards and the titles of their research go to: trust_awards.  Applicants should prepare a research proposal including estimated costs and submit it to Dan Scheiman ( before October 15 or April 15 of each year. Details of how to make and submit the proposal can be obtained by downloading this document

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