White-nose syndrome has been confirmed for the first time in Oklahoma, making it the 31st state with the deadly disease that affects hibernating bats. Bats play an important ecological role; each bat can eat up to 3,000 insects, including mosquitoes and agricultural pests, in a single night. Biologists are concerned about how white-nose syndrome will affect the bat populations in the future.
Our focus on the Kerr Center’s Stewardship Farm and Ranch is preservation of our precious natural resources.
We are located just south of Poteau in southeastern Oklahoma, in the Poteau River valley, in the foothills of the Quachita Mountains.
Our land base is the 4,000 acre Kerr Ranch, established by Senator Robert S. Kerr in the 1950s as the Kerrmac Ranch.
The ranch is home to many kinds of wildlife. Birds include owls, hawks and bald eagles. Many kinds of ducks visit our wetlands– ponds, streams and the Poteau River. White tailed deer can be found browsing in the woods.
We carry on the conservation tradition of Senator Kerr, who wrote in his book Land, Wood, and Water about the beauty of southeastern Oklahoma, and his pride in helping to reforest the area.
Learn About: Pollinators
Honeybee populations are declining. To help native pollinators fill the gap, the Kerr Center is managing pastures to increase pollinator habitat, and creating pollinator-friendly landscapes of native plants that attract native bees, flies, wasps, and butterflies such as the threatened Monarch.
Learn About: Stream/Pond Protection
Conservation buffer strips keep livestock away from stream edges. Stabilized crossings reduce the impact of vehicles and livestock on streams; limited-access watering points offer similar protection for ponds.
Learn About: Agroforestry
Trees can provide shade for cattle; cattle can provide a shorter-term income stream from timber plantations. Tree plantings also benefit wildlife, including pollinators. Establishment methods: contour planting, deep mulching, furrowing.
Learn About: Ranch Ecology & Management
The natural features of the Arkansas Valley eco-region – soils, topography, climate – set the limits within which the Kerr Ranch, and all other sustainable farms within it, must operate.