On October 20, 2018, the Little Rock-Centennial Chapter celebrated a new Centennial Chapter DAR sign at the Centennial Chapter DAR Penny Pine Memorial Forest in the Ouachita National Forest near Mt. Ida. ASDAR Vice Regent Gretchen Mcgee and other current and former state officers attend the ceremony as did representatives from the Akansa Chapter and the Major Jacob Gray Chapter. Mr. Norman Wagner, Supervisor of the Ouachita National Forest and other National Forest personnel were also present.
Candy Roman, Regent of Little Rock-Centennial Chapter DAR, presided over the program which was held at Joplin Methodist Church in Joplin, AR. A reception followed the ceremony, with refreshments provided by Little Rock-Centennial Chapter and the Akansa Chapter.
As part of the celebration ceremony, a brief history of the Penny Pine Forests were shared with the group, including how the Centennial Chapter DAR Penny Pine Memorial Forest came to be.
In the 1930s the Penny Pine Memorial Forest program began when Margaret March-Mount, a Region 9 National Forest employee initiated a fund-raising plan to encourage school children and civic groups to help reforest our national forests. Her Pennies for Pines Children’s Conservation Crusade encouraged donating pennies to plant pine trees in the national forests. The Civil Conservation Corp (CCC) did the actual work of planting and caring for the forest.
In 1939, Mrs. Henry M. Robert, DAR President General, chose the Penny Pine Memorial Forest as one of her Golden Jubilee National Projects. Mrs. Robert asked that each state support a memorial forest, with the project culminating in 1941 on DAR’s 50th Anniversary.
Mrs. Charles Miller, Arkansas DAR State Regent answered the challenge and in turn encouraged each Arkansas DAR chapter to support such a memorial forest. Three Penny Pine Memorial Forests were planted in Arkansas. The Fort Smith Chapter planted trees on 25 acres, and the Pine Bluff Chapter planted 4000 trees in the Arkansas National Forest.
On March 22, 1939, the Centennial Chapter planted 5000 trees on a 20-acre plot a few miles east of Mt. Ida in the Ouachita National Forest. A wooden sign was erected to dedicate the Centennial Chapter DAR Penny Pine Memorial Forest. A few years ago, the sign was taken down for repair work. Unfortunately, the sign was lost during this time.
The Little Rock-Centennial Chapter thanks the US Forest Service, Ouachita National Forest, and the Caddo-Womble Ranger District for the new Centennial Chapter DAR Penny Pine Memorial Forest sign and for the re-dedication of the Centennial Chapter DAR Penny Pine Memorial Forest.
Article written and provided by Kathy Balkman, Registrar