The Faulkner County Historical Society conducted its annual program for the public at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 30, at the Faulkner County Library. The guest speaker for the event was naturalist and retired biology teacher, Shirley Pratt.
She brought samples of several common native plants of Faulkner County for participants to examine and learn to identify. She further pointed out some native plants that were used as food, medicine, or in everyday life during earlier times.
Mrs. Pratt earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Hendrix College and master’s degree in health education from the University of Central Arkansas. She has taught at North Little Rock Ole Main High School, Quitman High School and Texarkana’s North Heights Junior High School. She is a docent at South Fork Nature Center near Choctaw, has worked as an Arkansas State Parks seasonal interpreter, has volunteered at the Faulkner County Museum and currently volunteers at Quitman High School.
During the time she worked in the park system, her interest in wildflowers of the state intensified. It was the guide position in a Civil War surgeon’s home at Historic Washington State Park that sparked her interest in native plants as medicines during the Civil War era.
She now lives on the family home place where she grew up, in Happy Valley of the Centerville community, east of Greenbrier.