President’s Letter – July/August 2013
August is the end of Arkansas Wildlife Federation’s fiscal year. I would like to take a look at what AWF has accomplished over this past year.
First of all we ended this year in the positive in our finance, which is always a good thing. Actually, we have ended on the positive for the past 4 years now.
Last December board member and supporter Dr. Charles Logan and his wife Joyce donated 32 acres of land to AWF on Bingham Road, off Interstate 530 to Pine Bluff. AWF purchased a small building and placed it on the land for our new interim office. Thanks to some help from board members and volunteers from Little Rock Air Force Base, we finished the inside so it could be used as an office, cleaned up trash and debris on the land, and disposed of more than 300 tires at a recycling facility. We filled up both a 40 Cubic Yard dumpster and a 30 yard dumpster thanks to Waste Management of Little Rock. AWF now has its own office and no longer pays rent thanks to Dr. Logan and wife Joyce.
We also received a very generous donation from Ms. Mary O’Boyle, III in honor of her godfather, Mr. Ron Fletcher. The donation has been very helpful to AWF and the many projects we are working on.
We again received a conservation grant from National Forest Foundation and have finished up this year’s work on Bearcat Hollow, including planting over 5000 trees with the help of AWF volunteers and affiliates. This is located in the Ozark National Forest in Searcy and Newton counties. We, along with our many partners, have created 450 acres of opening for wildlife throughout approximately 6,600 acres. The AGFC and the USFS have agreed to make this area a new Wildlife Management Area for elk and, starting this year, three elk will be allowed to be taken on Bearcat Hollow WMA. We feel very good about this because it proves that all the work AWF and our partners have done for conservation is working, benefiting wildlife and the sportsmen of Arkansas. Speaking of Bearcat Hollow, we will begin Phase II this year and need your help. The work weekend will be September 27 – 29 and we need volunteers to help us, not to mention we have a great time and are surrounded by beautiful scenery. Please contact AWF for details.
AWF, along with several other environmental groups, fought against the hog farm on Big Creek in Newton County. We feel like this is a disaster waiting to happen with the potential of pollution runoff into the Buffalo National River. The Buffalo River is the first national river to be designated in the United States. AWF was one of the partners that worked to get the Buffalo National River designated as the first national river in 1972 and we all need to work hard to protect the river and its watershed.
We, along with National Wildlife Federation and several other environmental organizations, spoke out after the Mayflower Oil Spill and all the damage it has caused, and may continue to cause in the future to, fish, wildlife, and our environment.
AWF and Creative Ideas, one of our affiliates, co-sponsored the “Wildlife of Arkansas” Student Art Contest once more for all K-12 students in Arkansas. This year we had over 600 students compete and 52 winners were chosen and presented awards at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. For the first time the art work traveled the state, exhibited in the AGFC Nature Centers for a month at a time for everyone to see. We also made a 2014 calendar that we will be selling to help promote and support the art contest.
AWF sponsored the largest event for the Wounded Warriors Project for the men and women who have come home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are over 34,000 wounded warriors who have come back from Iraq and, to date, over 19,000 from Afghanistan. Along with our partners we invited 50 wounded warriors to come to Lake Dardanelle State Park and go fishing for the day, which occurred on the free fishing weekend thanks to AGFC. We asked for, and found, 50 boat captains who donated their time and expertise to take these wounded warriors fishing for the day and enjoy a great meal and fellowship afterwards. They had a great time and we plan on repeating the event and having it once in again in June of 2014.
Arkansas Wildlife Federation’s Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet is our way of saying thank you to those that have gone the “Extra Mile” for conservation in Arkansas, the Natural State. AWF appreciates your help and support, so please join us and be part of the team for conservation for future generations.
Thanks to all of AWF’s affiliates for all of the work you do in your communities and your support to AWF. Your leadership and your efforts reflect your commitment to the environment and wildlife for future generations. AWF is very proud of your work and support.
Thanks to Creative Ideas and our partnership to put on the “Wildlife of Arkansas” Student Art Competition. We appreciate the work of Creative Ideas, their volunteers and judges, as well as all of the schools and students across Arkansas that participates. Of course a big thank you also goes out to the team at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center for allowing us to hold the awards ceremony at their facility and to let the students’ art be put on display and seen by thousands of visitors.
We have also enjoyed working with the Traildogs. Our work on the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail has been fun as well as educational. The trail is beautiful to behold and we look forward to helping finish the project.
Thanks to U S Army Corp of Engineers for allowing AWF and our new affiliates to keep four of our parks along the Arkansas River open to the public. These affiliates and their volunteers work very hard to maintain these parks and keep them open for public use and enjoyment.
Thanks to Arkansas Forest Commission for your support and donation of trees that we give away each year. In 2012 we gave away over 13,000 hardwoods and 3,000 pine seedlings to the public for free. We planted trees on school grounds at three schools while hundreds of young students watched and learned about the importance of trees and what they are used for and how they help our environment. We also had a training station for all of the 5th graders in Garland County to teach them about the importance of native trees for forage and habitation. Over 500 students got to take trees home.
A special thanks to all of our sponsors for our annual Conservation Achievement Awards Program. This awards program has been, and continues to be, a big part of AWF. The ceremony helps reflect the special people, organizations, businesses, and programs in Arkansas that care about nature and our environment. Thanks to Heartland Bank, The Center of Bryant, and the city of Bryant for your support and use of your facility for the awards banquet. Thank you to all of the other sponsors for your support. We couldn’t have done it without you.
I would also like to thank all of the AWF Board members and affiliates for your help and support to this organization, programs, events, and to making AWF a success in Arkansas. A big thanks goes to Geralyn Hoey and National Wildlife Federation for allowing AWF to be a part of your programs and for your support.
By Executive Director
Published: Jan. 26th, 2012
by Executive Director Executive Director