The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics manages the 19-acre Jewel Moore Nature Reserve located on the UCA campus. The reserve is used as an instructional facility for classes, a research area for faculty and students, and an environmental education site for the schools and public. Habitats include a mixed hardwood forest, a short grass prairie (in which controlled burns are conducted periodically), and various wetland areas that include part of Stone Dam Creek and several ephemeral ponds.
The land that is now the Jewel E. Moore Nature Reserve was originally described as the Conway Prairie by the naturalist Thomas Nuttall in 1819 and was also noted in land surveys of that year. In 1915, the Reserve area was known as the Normal Farm, and consisted of 50 acres. The Farm supplied students with about 700 gallons of milk and 100-150 dozen eggs per month. About 50 pigs provided meat, and an orchard provided peaches, apples, pears, and plums. The Farm was phased out in the 1940’s. Professor Jewel Moore began using this area as an outdoor classroom for various environmental and biological studies in 1977. The Jewel E. Moore Nature Reserve was established by the Board of Trustees in 1980 when they set aside an 8-acre tract at the request of the Biology Department. In 2004, the Board expanded the Nature Reserve to 19 acres, and funds were later provided for extending and upgrading trails, and adding signage and other features. The Reserve was rededicated on April 21, 2007.
Each year, the Nature Reserve is used by about 3,000 students enrolled in 16 courses, and many members of both the university and Conway communities also enjoy this beautiful protected area and its trails. The area currently managed for prairie species was historically used for hay production or grazing, and probably not for cultivation of crops. Controlled burning is used to maintain the health of the prairie and help control the spread of invasive species.
For further information, or to schedule guided tours, contact UCA’s Department of Biology at 450-3146.
|Enjoy the rich diversity of plants and animals in the Reserve. As you walk the trails please take only pictures and leave only footprints.|