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Overview
Things to Do

Columbus

Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Nature Center

Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

We are closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Please call before you come unless you are planning a self-guided visit of the area. Give us a call Call 501-214-1997 for more information.

  • Sunday: Closed
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Nature Center Offerings

On- and Off-site Programs
Shotgun Range
4,885 Acres
Conservation Pond
Archery Range
Hiking Trails

Acquisition Information

Rick Evans Grandview Prairie is comprised of 4,885 acres of Blackland Prairie. It was purchased in May of 1997 and was the first major land acquisition using money provided by Amendment 75. It fulfills several commitments made in the Plan for Conservation. These commitments include land acquisition and improvement, protection and restoration of habitat, and conservation education.

It is located in rural Hempstead County in Southwest Arkansas off Highway 73 near Columbus, Arkansas.

Land Use History

Native Americans inhabited this area long before it was called “Grandview.” Documented findings support the existence of the Caddo on the site.

The property was later called the Grandview Plantation and had a reputation for producing valuable crops and livestock.

In more recent times, the area was managed as a cattle farm and private hunting and fishing business. In conjunction with cattle farming, the introduction of non-native vegetation and over-grazing were common. In regards to the hunting and fishing business, the primary focus was on white-tailed deer, trophy bass, and pen-reared native and non-native upland game birds.

Currently, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission owns Grandview Prairie and is operating a Nature Center and Wildlife Management Area on the grounds.

Admission to the nature center is free thanks to your support of the Amendment 75 Conservation Fund.

Resource Inventory

At the time of purchase, Rick Evans Grandview Prairie had an excellent White-tailed deer herd, a small flock of Eastern wild turkeys, a remnant bobwhite quail population, and other common game species.

Rick Evans Grandview Prairie is currently a home to a variety of game and non-game animals as well, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

After purchasing Rick Evans Grandview Prairie, an ecological assessment was initiated and is presently being conducted by personnel from the AGFC, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC). To date, there are working species lists for mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, snails, and arachnids.

At the time of purchase, Rick Evans Grandview Prairie WMA had two watershed lakes that now serve as excellent public fisheries. They contain many different game fish species such as largemouth bass, bluegill, redear, crappie, and channel catfish.

Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Nature Center’s Conservation Pond located in front of the Nature Center Office, was enlarged to accommodate fishing derbies, and also allows for angler education and provides family-friendly fishing opportunities. The daily limit on this pond is 5 largemouth bass, 5 catfish and 10 crappie. Be sure to bring your rods and reels. More fishing information can be found in the most current Arkansas Fishing Guidebook. Each area pond also serves as habitat for migratory birds and aquatic species.

Rick Evans Grandview Prairie represents the most significant example of blackland prairie existing for management and restoration in Arkansas.

It is comprised of open prairie, woodlands, savanna, and non-native grasslands. The diversity of habitat types accounts for the subsequent variety of animals such as songbirds, deer, butterflies, small mammals and reptiles year-round.

View a working plant species list for Grandview that includes rare plant species tracked by the ANHC.

An area office, two lodges, an educational building with classroom space, public restrooms, several miles of hiking trails, a three field shotgun range, and a 25-target 3-D archery range are located on the center’s grounds. The shotgun range is equipped for trap, skeet, and 5-stand sporting clays. The archery range and hiking trails are always open. Bring your own gear. The shotgun range is open by appointment only. Call the office Tuesday through Saturday to make an appointment. Please schedule appointments well in advance; next day appointments will not be considered. For more information about the ranges and hiking trails, check the Facility Documents and Flyers tab.

A covered fishing pier and the area check-station are located on the WMA.

Nature center staff host thousands of school children and teachers each year with programs about the area’s cultural and natural resources and history. Two buildings accommodate overnight visitors and special programs can be offered by reservation.

Archeology is defined as the scientific study of material remains of past human life and activities. Rick Evans Grandview offers study of Caddo existence and early settlers on the prairie.

Paleontology is the science dealing with the life of past geological periods as known from fossil remains. Rick Evans Grandview offers the study of fossil remains from the cretaceous period found on the site. They include several species of exogyra, short and long-necked plesiosaur, mosasaur, and shark. Fossils of prehistoric marine life have been found on the grounds, some as ancient as 73 million years old.

On-Site Programs

To request a field trip to our nature center, please fill out this form. To request a small group program, send email to grandviewprairie@agfc.ar.gov.

 

Hook, Line, and Sinker…Third grade and up

Participants are introduced to fishing in this activity. They will learn about different types of fish found in Arkansas, their habitats, eating habits and baits used to catch them. Training also includes proper knot-tying, basic fishing instruction and important safety tips. If time permits, participants will get to fish.

The Danger Zone…All ages

In this activity, participants are introduced to common outdoor dangers that can be found in Arkansas. They will learn how to identify animals and plants that can cause harm, and how to successfully handle exposure or encounters with them. Finally, participants will learn how these dangers are a vital part of the ecosystems in which they live.

It’s for the Birds…All ages

This program focuses on birding basics and commonly occurring Arkansas species. Participants will learn the proper use of common birding tools, such as field guides and binoculars. Included will be an overview of “Wings Over Arkansas,” an interactive AGFC-sponsored program. After establishing the basics, participants can put their newly acquired skills to use on a prairie birding expedition.

Target Tactics…FIfth grade and up

This lesson teaches proper handling techniques when using shotguns. It is an introduction to the basic characteristics of a shotgun. Participants will learn safety tips and proper carrying positions. It can be taught in the classroom, or as a hands on lesson that includes live firing.

Let’s Take a Ride…All ages

This interpretive area tour gives participants the opportunity to experience the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie WMA first hand. It allows them to see, hear, smell and feel various aspects of the prairie. While on the tour, participants will make several stops and discuss key points of interest.

A Painted Prairie…All ages

In this lesson, participants are introduced to the vast array of wildflowers found on-site. Basics of plant anatomy and how to use this information to identify different species will be discussed. Discover the importance of biodiversity. Finally, suggested field guides and their use will be presented. Test your knowledge on an area tour or hike.

Reptiles of Arkansas…All ages

Learn about the four groups of reptiles in Arkansas. Discover features that make them different and steps you can take to protect them. And meet an animal friend!

Canoeing…Fifth grade and up

Seasons in Arkansas come and go so we can see the changes in weather, animals and plants. One of the best ways to see these changes is by paddling around the lake in a canoe. Join the staff of the education center to discover these changes that are going on in our backyard. Be sure to bring a camera for some great photos!

Archery Target Shooting…Third grade and up

This is a great introduction for anyone interested in learning a new skill. Participants will learn the basics of archery–safety, stances and proper use of equipment–with simple compound bows that are adjustable to each individual’s strength. This program focuses on group tournament style target archery and is taught by an Archery in the Schools (AIS) certified coach. This hands-on program is suitable for ages 8 and up, and is recommended to anyone interested in learning a new sport or someone who wants to get into hunting with this skill.

Guided Trail Tour…All ages

Join the staff at Grandview for a short guided hike on our Education Trail. View plants that grow on the Blackland Prairie and maybe catch a glimpse of the animals that call the area home.


Special Request: If the topics above are not exactly what you are looking for, give us your request. We will research your topic and present it. Please give us two weeks to research the subject before presentation, and please make sure it is outdoors related.

Note to Educators: Ask about Fishing in the Natural StateProject WILD, our Conservation Scholarship, and other programs offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Off-Site Programs

Note: Programs may range from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the group size.

All About Alligators…All ages

See a live alligator during an introduction and overview of the history and future of the American Alligator as well as an in-depth look at the biological characteristics of Arkansas’s largest reptile!

Animal Adaptations…All ages

Learn how some of our wildlife has adapted to living in Arkansas. See the physical and behavioral ways, such as camouflage and hibernation, that have helped them survive life in the Natural State.

Archery…Third grade and up

We bring the archery course to you, with everything a beginner archer needs to learn the sport: school approved Genesis bows, practice arrows, 3-D and standing targets. Can be set up on a playground or in a gym.

Arkansas Game and Fish Careers…Sixth grade and up

Is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission made up of only biologists and game wardens? Find out about what it takes to make the commission operate and all the different types of careers associated with the AGFC.

Decoy Painting…Second grade and up

Learn about the most abundant waterfowl in Arkansas, the Mallard Duck. Everything from their migration patterns, environmental needs and the purpose of mimicking. Get all of this information along with painting a decoy to take home.

Fish Dissection…Eighth grade and up

Learn the anatomy of a catfish so you can better understand their behavior and adaptations- it might just make you a better angler! We provide the fish and tools.

Fishes of Arkansas…All ages

Students will learn to choose baits, lures, locations, tie some basic knots and receive a free book to take home with lots of fishing tips. Learn to tell the difference in similar fish species using identification techniques. Along the way, learn some interesting facts about some of Arkansas’ s incredible fish! Depending on Location we can fish at a local pond or stream.

Hunting Is Conservation…Sixth grade and up

How does hunting benefit wildlife? Learn about the history of the wildlife in Arkansas before hunting laws were established, the start of the AGFC and how hunters have become the largest contributors to conservation.

Paddle Sports…Sixth grade and up

Kayaking and canoeing are great pastimes, but being on the water carries risks. Give your students the opportunity to learn basic paddling strokes, how to navigate waters and the importance of wearing a life jacket. This program can take place in a classroom. If you have access to a big enough body of water, we can get our feet wet. We have 6 canoes available for this program.

Reptiles of Arkansas…All ages

Learn about the four groups of reptiles in Arkansas. Discover features that make them different and steps you can take to protect them. And meet an animal friend! Learn how to identify all the venomous snakes of Arkansas. Learn about their roles in the environment, the threats against them and how you can help to protect these misunderstood reptiles.

Skat, Tracks and Furs…All ages

Finding animal signs can be just as much fun as seeing the animal itself. Imagine finding a big black bear track near your favorite camping spot. Learn how to identify different animal scat, tracks and furs.

Stream Survey…Forth grade and up

If you have a stream, creek or pond near your school, why not test the water quality to see how it benefits the wildlife in the area. Stream health is measured in a number of ways. We will be collecting and surveying macroinvertebrates.


Special Request: If the topics above are not exactly what you are looking for, give us your request. We will research your topic and present it. Please give us two weeks to research the subject before presentation, and please make sure it is outdoors related.

Note to Educators: Ask about Fishing in the Natural StateProject WILD, our Conservation Scholarship, and other programs offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Advanced Programs

Note: Available for on-and off-site programming.

Owl Pellet Dissections…Fifth grade and up

Owls are birds of prey, which means that they eat other animals. Like other birds, owls do not have teeth. They swallow their prey whole. Owls cannot digest fur, bones, feathers and other parts of their prey so they spit it up in a small pellet. Students will be able to explore these pellets using tools, and will learn to identify bones and use their new skills to learn what owls eat. Must schedule program at least six weeks in advance.

Fish Dissections…Fifth grade and up

Get hands-on experience exploring the anatomy and physiology of some native fish species! Students will be able to see the inner-workings of fish without discoloration from formaldehyde. Must schedule six weeks in advance.

Native American Crafts and Tools…Age varies by program

The AGFC Education Division offers many additional programs for the public including pottery, weaving, bow-making and leather crafts. The AGFC can offer and supply materials for most programs and crafts that are outdoor, wildlife, and/or nature related.

Stream Survey…Fifth grade and up

Discover what lies beneath the water of Arkansas’ s fresh water creeks, ponds and rivers. Participants will catch macroinvertebrates using various methods, identifying and learning what they can tell us about the water quality. Bodies of water off-site will need to be reviewed before the program. Waders will be available, but please plan to dress for water exposure and bring an extra change of clothes in case you get wet.

Hunter Education Course…Sixth grade and up

Anyone born after 1968 must complete a hunter education course and carry a valid hunter education card to hunt in Arkansas. Children under 16 may hunt without hunter education as long as they are under the direct supervision of an adult who is 21 years old and has a valid hunting license. The course takes a minimum of 10 hours and can be done in one day or multiple days.

Boater Education Course…Sixth grade and up

Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1985, and of legal age to operate a motorboat or sailboat, must have successfully completed an approved AGFC Boating Education Course and carry proof while operating a motorboat or sailboat on Arkansas water.


Booths can be set up at several kinds of occasions including careers fairs, festivals and other events. BB gun ranges, mobile archery, and fishing derbies also can be hosted through AGFC.

Special Request: If the topics above are not exactly what you are looking for, give us your request. We will research your topic and present it. Please give us two weeks to research the subject before presentation, and please make sure it is outdoors related.

Note to Educators: Ask about Fishing in the Natural StateProject WILD, our Conservation Scholarship, and other programs offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Scheduling a Program

The service area for the nature center includes the following counties: Clark, Garland, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Pike and Sevier. We can be reached by email at grandviewprairie@agfc.ar.gov.

The size of your group, weather, time limitations, and other conditions may be factors for some programming. Almost all subjects can be presented from kindergarten to collegiate levels; please specify ahead of time.

Please be prepared to provide us with the following information:

  • Name of group
  • Contact person
  • Address
  • Phone number(s)
  • Date(s) requested
  • Number in your group
  • Type of program(s) needed
  • Arrival time
  • Departure time

Note: Overnight accommodations can be made for up to 15 people in two lodges on-site. To shedule an overnight program, fill out this form. For school field trip requests, fill out this form.

Nature Center Event Calendar

Have you ever wanted to try hunting or harvest your own food? The Outdoor Skills Network is your one-stop resource for events offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and a network of partners who conduct opportunities to engage your outdoor skills in hunting, fishing, trapping, safety, wildlife, marksmanship, and more!