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Audubon Arkansas: Little Rock.

Audubon Arkansas was established in 2000, primarily through a $450,000 grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. Since then, the state's first affiliate of the National Audubon Society has set about filling its niche in the world of environmentalism and conservation--a niche not already filled by other organizations, according to Executive Director Kenneth Lee Smith, who is also a finalist in the Nonprofit Executive of the Year category.

While the Nature Conservancy works to preserve remaining natural areas in the state, Audubon Arkansas works to restore landscapes that have been despoiled. Audubon complements the public policy advocacy successes of the Wildlife Federation with hands-on educational programs for Arkansans of all ages. And it extends Ducks Unlimited's work on protecting waterfowl habitat to other birds, as befits an organization named for the naturalist who painted American bird species 150 years ago.

"Over 99 percent of the landscape in the United States has been changed drastically," Smith said. "Water quality and air quality suffer, and wildlife numbers suffer. That's why you see Audubon doing two things: education through our Nature Center projects and school projects."

Last year, Audubon volunteers--mainly children and their mentors--planted more than 25,000 trees in Arkansas. Audubon also organized the volunteer troops that removed six tons of trash and 500 abandoned tires from the Fourche Creek watershed.

Audubon is working to create a Nature Center on 500 acres of Granite Mountain near Little Rock--"some of the most beautiful land left in Arkansas," Smith said--and a second one at Fayetteville.

"We have all this incredible diversity that comes together right here in Little Rock. We want people to experience that," Smith said.
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Title Annotation:2003 Arkansas Business of the Year Awards: category IV nonprofit corporations
Comment:Audubon Arkansas: Little Rock.(2003 Arkansas Business of the Year Awards: category IV nonprofit corporations)
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Feb 16, 2004
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