Buffalo River Ranger Reaches Out to Area Seniors

Visitors to Buffalo National River probably expect to meet a park ranger in a visitor center, on a hiking trail, or maybe even floating the river.  But one Buffalo River ranger is putting a new spin on “rangering” by reaching out to area seniors, many of whom grew up on the Buffalo but are no longer physically able to visit to visit the park.  Linda Bishop, the Upper District Interpretive Ranger for Buffalo National River, uses her creative interpretive skills to make the river accessible to residents of long-term care facilities throughout the area.

Ranger Bishop has developed a series of hour-long programs to present at adult care facilities.  Her goal is to serve an audience that cannot necessarily get to the park. As a result, she takes her knowledge and program materials to residents in long-term care facilities, including Maple Esplanade Assisted Living Facility in Harrison and the Newton County Nursing Home.  Programs are also presented regularly at the Boone County Adult Day Care and Boone County Senior Center.

Intentionally designed to engage participants in conversations about the park, Ranger Bishop’s programs cover everything from local wildlife to cultural changes that the Buffalo River has experienced over the years.  Members of the audience share their memories of times gone by and reflect on their time spent on along the banks of the Buffalo.

Doing a little reflecting of her own, Ranger Bishop said, “Over the years, it has been my honor to be asked to bring the park to the people. Through photos and discussions folks are able to stay connected to the beautiful Buffalo River even when they cannot visit the park as often as they would like”

If you would like to learn more about Ranger Bishop’s interpretive programs, you can reach her at (870) 861-2570.  She operates a visitor contact station at Steel Creek, off of Highway 74 between Ponca and Jasper.


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