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Federation Schedules 38th Convention & Trade Show: timely global warming debate is among the highlights of upcoming three-day conference set for hot springs.

Somewhere between a stint on the climbing wall, a few hours watching the pig races and a sing-along with the yodeling cowboy who espouses poetry about the Old West, those attending the Arkansas Environmental Federation's 38th Convention and Trade Show will have the opportunity to bone up on their regulatory knowledge and get to decide for themselves whether global warming is reality or just a myth.

We've just added more of a county fair feel to this year's party.

The AEF's Big County Fair kicks off Monday, Nov. 7, and runs through midday Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Summit Arena/Hot Springs Convention Center. More than 500 people and 60 exhibitors are expected to converge on the convention center during the three-day span of the convention. AEF Executive Director Randy Thurman said this year's event will be more laid back and fun than in years past.

"If you think you've seen and done it all, the 38th Annual Convention may just make you think again," he said. "We have a top-notch array of presenters, including regulators from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency, nationally renowned scientists, legal experts, and even the factory grunts who make it all work."

The 11th Annual Golf Scramble is the first event of the week, with this year's tee time set for 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 7, at Belvedere Country Club in Hot Springs. Following the golf tournament, the opening and reception is at 6 p.m. Monday evening in the Exhibit Hall; the convention will officially start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, with opening remarks from AEF President Peter R. Christiansen and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Director Marcus Devine.

This year's Randall Mathis Scholarship for Environmental Studies will be presented to University of Central Arkansas senior Adam Jerry during this session. Thurman said he expects more than 50 professors and college students from across Arkansas to attend the convention, giving them the opportunity to network with seasoned professionals in the field. It also will give much deserved exposure to the students' projects through a poster session on display for most of the convention.

The 2005 Diamond Award for Excellence in Environmental Leadership will be presented to Potlatch Corp. during the morning session on Tuesday as well.

Door prize drawings and a walk-around lunch will help wrap up the convention on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from noon-1:30 p.m.

But where, you might ask, are the singing pigs and the cowboy races ... or is that racing pigs and singing cowboys? Read on for a brief overview of what else we have in store for Hot Springs.

Gary McMahan, Singing Cowboy, General Nuisance

This year's keynote speaker is a genuine, authentic cowboy, the likes of which you might not have seen before or will ever see again. McMahan brings his award-winning songs, humor, captivating stories and national championship yodeling to our convention this year. Artists such as Ian Tyson, Chris LeDoux and Riders in the Sky have recorded his songs, and his poetry isn't the stuff you hated in high school.

His simple style embodies what many believe to be the heart of the new West. McMahan comes by his cowboy heritage naturally. He was born into it and has ridden, wrangled and roped all over the West, always collecting the reflections. Those reflections are the backbone of all his songs, stories and poems.

All in Good Fun

You can test your coordination on an indoor climbing wall beginning Monday night, enjoy true "fair" food and marvel at the racing of the Hambone Express 3, or what Thurman called the AEF's version of Nascar, on Tuesday evening.

"This is not just any race," he said. "The piglets of the Hambone Express 3 Pig Racin' team are genuine professionals that race throughout the nation. You don't want to try this in your own living room ... it's Far too dangerous ... so pull on your bib overalls, dig your straw hat out of the closet and come on down for the Tuesday evening reception!"

Global Warming--Myth or Reality?

Global warming is front and center in nearly every discussion about environmental policy, economic growth and America's standing in the international community. AEF has invited Dr. Roy W. Spencer and Dr. Lawrence A. Coleman to help attendees explore both sides of this "hot topic." Spencer and Coleman will debate the data, and you will benefit by having a better understanding of the science driving this critical issue.

Spencer is the principle research scientist at the University of Alabama and is a former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. He is a past recipient of NASA's Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and the American Meteorological Society's Special Award for his satellite-based temperature monitoring work and is an outspoken critic of the global warming drumbeat. Coleman is a professor of physics from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's department of physics and astronomy and is a proponent of more aggressive measures to address climate change.

Award Winners


Richard McDuffee

Rep. Jodie Mahony, D-El Dorado


Allan Gates

Rep. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home

Charles R. Nestrud

Sen. Shawn Womack, R-Mountain Home


Peter R. Christiansen


Shawki Al-Madhoun, PE


Potlatch Corporation


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Title Annotation:Arkansas Environmental Federation
Author:Oliver, Jamie
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Oct 31, 2005
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