Two state educational institutions are partnering with the Five Oaks Ag Research and Education Center to expand forestry and wildlife research in Arkansas.
The University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture have partnered with Five Oaks Ag Research and Education Center located in Stuttgart. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, representatives from each institution signed a partnership agreement at the Five Oaks Duck Lodge south of Stuttgart.
As part of the partnership, researchers will look for ways to improve Arkansas’ bottomland hardwood forests and how to improve mallard and dabbling duck populations.
The partnership will also create a new graduate certificate program in conservation, property and land management. This program is focused on wetland and waterfowl conservation.
“This is a groundbreaking example of a creative public and private partnership to provide solutions for both the land and people of Arkansas,” University of Arkansas System president Donald Bobbitt said in a statement. “Timber and recreational hunting and fishing provide millions of dollars for the Arkansas economy each year and we see this partnership as a way to maintain a precious natural resource while enhancing employment opportunities for Arkansans.”
Five Oaks is owned by George Dunklin, a former Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner from 2005 to 2012 and former president of Ducks Unlimited from 2013 to 2015. Five Oaks Ag Research and Education Center was founded in 2020, according to records from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office.
“I am very excited about the partnership between Five Oaks Ag Research and Education Center, the University of Arkansas Division of Ag and UAM,” Dunklin said. “I fully expect the research by the students as directed by their professors will lead to scientific findings that help make our bottomland habitats more productive for wintering waterfowl and in particular mallards. The other goals would be creating new professional land mangers that will have extensive experience in applied research and educating the public of these findings.”
Image courtesy of Five Oaks Duck Lodge