The mission of the Ozark Natural Science Center is to enhance the
understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the Ozark natural
environment. We achieve this by providing education programs
that immerse participants in the wonder of the Ozarks ecosystems
and celebrate ecological and cultural diversity, foster conservation
and stewardship, and nurture appreciation of nature in the Ozarks.
Our programs focus on helping children and adults develop a
sense of place and a wonder for the diversity of life and the
importance of natural systems around us.
Our mission statement describes our message and approach well.
Conservation ethics are the underlying thread that ties all of our
education topics and activities together. Whether by acting out
and discussing Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax for a group of school-aged
children around a campﬁre or by outlining personal choices for
sustainable living for corporate executives, we remind people that
they hold the power to protect and care for the natural world.
ONSC’s programming offers participants timely and deep
information on how ecosystems in the Ozarks function and the
human role in those natural systems. Our school-based
programming is aligned with many of the Arkansas Department of
Education learning frameworks, providing a potent environment
for school groups to learn about the natural sciences “where they
happen”. ONSC’s staff members are well-versed in educational
techniques for informal settings and have backgrounds that span
from aquatic resources to zoology, and all share a love for sharing
their knowledge of the natural world with other people.
We believe that when people understand the natural world better
they are more likely to appreciate the complexity and diversity of
nature around them. Furthermore, we believe that teaching about
nature is most effective through the vehicle of recreation. We
teach while hiking on trails, paddling on rivers, and wading in creeks. We know that allowing students to touch
and experience the topic ﬁrsthand is the key to developing a
lifelong appreciation for nature.
Developing in people a deeper conservation ethic is the ultimate
goal of our mission statement. We believe that understanding
leads to appreciation and therefore a sense of empowerment to
steward the natural world. We know that each person’s lifestyle
can include steps to lessen human impact on the natural world
and preserve it for future generations. Therefore, our programs
include practical ways for students young and old to live a more