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South Shore Foundation Gives $25,000 Toward New Conservation Education Center at Crooked Creek
December 2004

As the new Fred Berry Conservation Education Center at Crooked Creek nears its opening for students, teachers and the public, South Shore Foundation announces a $25,000 grant for the center. The center’s site is just west of Yellville and includes Kelly’s Slab. It is the second conservation education center built by the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation.

The center is named for Fred Berry, a retired Yellville-Summit school teacher, because Berry’s donation financed the purchase of the 421-acre site, including nearly three miles of Crooked Creek frontage.

"This project demonstrates how one person, Fred Berry, chose to put his concern for our natural resources into action," said the South Shore Foundation Chairman Jodie Elizabeth Jeffrey. "We are glad to support this wonderful center, which embodies our interest in preserving our environment, and to recognize the efforts of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation as well," she added.

Berry gave stock in the former Bank of Yellville to the state Game & Fish Foundation which sold the stock for $1 million and purchased acreage along Crooked Creek. Berry was named to the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2001 and is a board member of Arkansas Nature Conservancy. He became a South Shore Foundation board member in 2002.

The educational building, with a pavilion, has classrooms where fourth to sixth grade students and teachers will study Ozark plants, animals, and streams. Additional acreage will have hiking trails and wildlife viewing areas, access to the creek for fishing, and a new access point at the upstream edge which will provide a one to two-hour float to Kelly’s Slab. The land will be open to camping, picnicking, horseback riding and mountain biking, but will be closed to vehicles and hunting.

Crooked Creek is described by the Game and Fish Commission as a premier smallmouth bass location, rising south of Harrison near the Boone-Newton county line, flowing through Harrison, then east past Yellville to join the White River. It is fished by waders, by boaters, and from the banks. It’s also noted for disappearing underground at times during the year near the White River.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation raised approximately $200,000 to build the center, including donations from South Shore Foundation, Entergy, Walton Family Foundation, Southwest Electric Cooperative, Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame, Arkansas Wildlife Officers Association, Larry Grisham Turkey Trust, the Game & Fish Foundation, and individual and anonymous gifts.

The first center in the state for conservation education is Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake on the lower White River east of Stuttgart.

Selection of a staff for the Crooked Creek Center is underway so educational programs for students and teachers can begin during the first semester of 2005. A full-time teacher and two part-time teachers will work onsite, according to staffing plans. Three area wildlife officers will work from offices at the center as soon as it opens.

The architectural firm of Polk, Stanley, and Yeary of Little Rock donated design and supervision of construction of the facility, and the Game & Fish Foundation selected the Tony Davenport Construction Co. of Yellville as the builder.

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