South Fork Nature Center Breaks Ground on Outdoor Classroom

Sustainable Rivers and Forests Initiative Commitment to Conservation Education Begins

Clinton, Arkansas

Construction has begun on a pavilion and outdoor classroom at the South Fork Nature Center funded by a donation provided by BHP Billiton. The classroom is a result of the Sustainable Rivers and Forests Initiative (SRFI) between The Nature Conservancy and BHP Billiton announced last fall, which supports conservation and associated community involvement in the Greers Ferry Lake watershed.

Expected to be complete in the fall of 2017, the pavilion will provide a space for meetings, and will be open to the public for outdoor education and interpretive materials. It will complement the nature center’s existing two miles of trails, historical cabin and various habitat and glade restoration projects.

“We are excited to be a part of this initiative promoting conservation,” said Don Richardson, a board member, with the South Fork Nature Center. “We are committed to preserving the native flora and fauna of Arkansas in a manner that encourages public access, appreciation of nature, and an understanding of the importance of biodiversity in people’s lives. The pavilion is going to allow us to share the conservation message with a larger audience and better serve the communities around Greers Ferry Lake.”

Through the Sustainable Rivers and Forests Initiative, The Nature Conservancy and BHP Billiton are both committed to identifying large-scale conservation opportunities and business strategies that enhance the resilience of our natural environment and improve community livelihoods. The pavilion will be a place where people can learn about preventing eroding streambanks, reducing unpaved roads maintenance costs, land and stream restoration, forest management,  and other water quality work supported by the SRFI commitment.

“We are very excited to work with the South Fork Nature Center and participate in their great work introducing kids and families to the special habitats around Greers Ferry Lake.” said Scott Simon, Arkansas director for The Nature Conservancy. “The support from BHP Billiton continues to provide opportunities for people to help improve the water quality of Greers Ferry Lake in practical and enjoyable ways.”

The South Fork Nature Center is a conservation project of the Gates-Rogers Foundation. It is devoted to preserving the natural beauty and diversity of the Greers Ferry Lake shoreline for all ages to cherish and enjoy. Visit for more information and directions.

BHP Billiton is a leading global resources company. Our purpose is to create long-term shareholder value through the discovery, acquisition, development and marketing of natural resources. BHP Billiton’s Petroleum business has exploration, development, production and marketing activities in countries around the world, including significant positions in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, onshore U.S., Australia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Across our global operations, we are committed to working in ways that are true to Our BHP Billiton Charter values of Sustainability, Integrity, Respect, Performance, Simplicity and Accountability.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.