Matthew D. Moran grew up in Ocean City, MD, where the coastal wildlife and his family’s fishing business developed his interest in the natural world. He studied ecology at the University of Delaware, where he received his B.A. in 1991 and his Ph.D. in 1996. Since 1996 he has been a faculty member in the Biology Department at Hendrix College. His research has resulted in publications on grassland ecology, arthropod natural history, and plant-animal interactions. He has led natural history field trips with Hendrix College students to many parts of the United States and overseas including locations such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, East Africa, and the American Southwest. He lives with his wife Jennifer Penner atop Petit Jean Mountain with their dog Mariposa and cat Luna.
Rising out of the Arkansas River Valley is majestic Petit Jean Mountain, one of the most prominent landmarks in central Arkansas. Referred to by locals as just “The Mountain,” it has a fascinating history, unusual geology, and a wealth of biological resources. Fortunately for Arkansans, a large piece of the mountain is preserved in Petit Jean State Park. The park contains lakes, playgrounds, camping areas, a beautiful lodge, and great scenery. It also contains one of the state’s best trail systems, almost 20 miles of pathways that will take you through many areas of natural beauty.
This guide is for those who want to visit this extraordinary place of nature. The book is not exhaustive, but it tries to assist in your personal exploration of the Big Woods and begin your naturalist’s education about this great place. The locations detailed in this book only scratch the surface of what is available. After you have sampled some of the locations described here, go out and find your own special places too.
After a multi-generational journey, the first interplanetary colonization vessel christened The Pythias is approaching the star Eridani. On the third planet in the system, Elpis, a contingent from the ship will land and start a new society. However, there is trouble brewing on the ship as the societal change caused by the imminent departure of a portion of the crew is too much for some to bear. The planet will also have surprises for the colonizers when the biology of the ship and this new world clash. Events soon spiral out of control and the survival of both the colony and the ship are in doubt. The captain of the ship, Jerome Gates, and the commander of the colony, Dr. Laura Hansen, will need all their intellect and skill to try to save their people and salvage this most audacious human undertaking.