b"Photos by RUSTY HUBBARDBlack-eyed SusanExotic wildflower tour throughN E W T O N C O U N T YBy JEFF DEZORTN EWTON COUNTY, Ark.species of wildflowers. During the COVID- And Newton County, located in 19 pandemic the publicthe rugged Boston Mountains with is encouraged to get outdoors, buttheir deep river valleys is home to keep in mind health safety protocolsmany of them. One of the best ways by avoiding crowds, wearing masksto see the native wildflowers in to and social distancing. That elimi- drive along the roads and highways.nates a lot of activities like attendingWildflowers are being utilized by festivals, sporting events and evenARDOT to beautify the over 200,000 family picnics. One good way ofacres of highway roadsides it main-safely enjoying the outdoors, and intains statewide. The department's the process learn something new,Wildflower Program has three is as simple as taking to the localparts: a Wildflower Route Program, highways. which preserves existing wildflower The Arkansas Department ofpopulations; Operation Wildflower, Transportation (ARDOT) notes thatwhich establishes new wildflowerArkansas, nicknamed The Naturalpopulations; and the Wildflower State, is graced with more than 600Sign program which strives to 36| Ozarks Magazine | Spring 2021 www.OzarksMag.com"