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In general, the office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Holidays are an exception. It is a good idea to call ahead unless you are planning a self-guided visit of the area. The property is gated and there is no vehicle access when the office is closed. Visitors may access walking trails from the parking lot daily from sunrise to sunset.
The Fred Berry Conservation Education Center (FBCEC) on Crooked Creek is one of four Arkansas Game and Fish Conservation Education Centers. The 421 Ozark acres that comprise FBCEC lie in a 2.75 mile bend of Crooked Creek just above Kelley's access. The property, a former dairy farm, is now the site of a joint conservation education project between the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. A generous donation by retired Yellville-Summit school-teacher and counselor, Fred Berry, set the project in motion in 1999. Donations from Berry, and others, provided the land, education building, pavilion and other improvements. The center was opened and dedicated on June 17, 2005.
Check the real time USGS water gauge at Kelley's Slab.
(Slab elevation: 12.3')
The education building, pavilion, trails, creek and acres of varied Ozark habitat provide plenty of indoor and outdoor learning areas. The classroom can accommodate up to 40 students, although larger numbers can be seated. It features a wet lab, exhibits and wildlife native to the area as well as an outdoor Ozark native plant garden and wildlife viewing area. The pavilion, which overlooks Crooked Creek and its floodplain, can seat approximately 100 and offers an ideal setting for scouts, 4-H or other groups to camp.
Crooked Creek is a free-flowing stream that provides habitat for a diverse range of aquatic, avian and terrestrial species. It has long been known for smallmouth bass fishing. A key goal for FBCEC is to provide interpretive opportunities to students, teachers, landowners and the general public.
FBCEC is a designated Arkansas Watchable Wildlife site. Well over 100 species of birds have been recorded as well as practically every common Ozark mammal. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars and cameras.
Almost six miles of hiking trails are available. The Creek Bottom Trail, a 2-mile loop on the floodplain, provides easy access to the creek for fishing or wildlife watching. The Woodland Edge Trail, a 1-mile loop that is wheelchair accessible for 0.6 mile. The Creek Bluff Trail overlooks Crooked Creek for 0.9 miles, where it joins the Woodland Stream Trail. The stream trail courses 0.6 miles of Ozark forest along a picturesque Crooked Creek tributary. Call for additional trail information 870-449-3484.
The 3-D archery range at the center provides a challenge to beginning and advanced archers alike. Even non-archers will appreciate the wildlife-viewing opportunities found along the course. Ten lanes are set with a variety of game animal targets, and are easily accessed by gravel and paved roades. The course is open Tuesday through Saturday by appointment. Stop by the center for range rules and score cards.
Bird and butterfly checklists are available at the on-site education building or on line in the list below.
As its name indicates, the focus of FBCEC is conservation education. Educational opportunities are offered to a variety of groups and in several different ways. Teacher in-service trainings are regularly offered. Teachers also are invited to bring students of any age. Scouts, 4-H and other groups may hold classes, camp, hike, or work on conservation projects. Family nights and summer programs feature conservation and outdoor recreation instruction for kids and families. While priority is given to school groups, the facility is also available as a meeting place for conservation and outdoor education groups.
Groups may bring their own lessons or use those from FBCEC curriculum which provides lessons from six different learning tracks. These tracks and lessons are described in the FBCEC Educators' Handbook available as a PDF on this website. The handbook also contains information for scheduling a field trip to the center. Partner curriculum like Project WET, Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, Wonders of Wetlands and Leopold Education Project are also available. If you have questions or special programming needs, call Marilyn Doran at 870-449-3484 or send an email.
Fred Berry Conservation Education Center on Crooked Creek
851 Conservation Lane
P.O. Box 489
Yellville, AR 72687