Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism names Henry Awards finalists

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in News

The 2018 Henry Awards winners will be revealed at the 44th Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism to be held in West Memphis at Southland Park Gaming & Racing March 11-13, 2018. The awards ceremony will take place during the Governor’s Banquet on Tuesday, March 13. The Henry Awards honor Henri de Tonti, the man historians consider to be among the first “Arkansas Travelers.” The awards and respective finalists are: The Media Support Award, which is presented annually to a distinguished individual or organization for extraordinary attention to and/or support of Arkansas’s tourism industry through the use of media. – Arkansas Travel Channel – AY (About You) – The Show With No Name The Bootstrap Award, which is presented annually to an individual, organization, or community that has achieved significant success “on a shoestring,” having limited means to work with, either in resources or finances. – Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau GRIT Awards – Helena Downtown Partnership – Visit Hot Springs and 61 Celsius The Arkansas Heritage Award, which is presented annually to an individual, organization, or community that has made a significant contribution toward the preservation of some aspect of Arkansas’s natural, cultural or aesthetic legacy. – Arkansas Travelers – Faulkner County Historical Society – Wilson (Town of Wilson and the Lawrence Group) The Grand Old Classic Special Event Award, which is presented annually to a festival, fair or other special celebration that has “stood the test of time” and become an established example to follow. – Christmas Frolic at Historic Arkansas Museum – Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant – Warfield Concerts The Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, which is presented annually to a community, individual or organization that through outstanding volunteer spirit has made a substantial contribution to Arkansas’s tourism industry. – Brandy Jordan, Mountain Home – Floyd and Sue Robison, Fort Smith – Keep Arkansas Beautiful The Community Tourism Development Award, which is presented annually to a community or organization that has achieved substantial success in the enhancement of its local resources through imaginative and innovative development efforts. – City of Augusta – Batesville (Main Street Batesville, Batesville Chamber of Commerce, City of Batesville) – Fayetteville Roots Festival The Natural State Award, which is presented annually to a community, organization, special event or attraction that “stands out in the crowd” because of its unique appeal, media coverage, creative approach and/or enhancement of community pride, thus benefiting the state’s quality of life. – Arkansas Goat Festival – Murphy Arts District (MAD) – Quapaw Canoe Company During the Henry Awards ceremony, the Tourism Person of the Year will also be announced. Selected by former honorees, the Tourism Person of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has been actively involved in tourism and who has made a substantial contribution, within the past year, to the betterment of the tourism industry as a whole. For more information...

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2017 Great Arkansas Cleanup Results

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in News

Volunteers participating in the Great Arkansas Cleanup, a two month-long event promoted by the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), removed almost 1 million pounds of litter and bulky waste during the statewide cleanup effort. Fifty-eight counties across the state registered Great Arkansas Cleanup events with KAB. The Great Arkansas Cleanup in involved more than 6,700 volunteers at 215 events statewide who contributed a combined 44,825 hours toward improving their communities. These cleanups cleared litter from 1,117 miles of roadside and 727 miles of waterway. “We are pleased to have increased the number of statewide cleanups, volunteer hours, and counties involved in this year’s Great Arkansas Cleanup,” said Liz Philpott, KAB volunteer program manager. “We hope every county in Arkansas with register a cleanup event with us in 2018. We’re all in this together and have a duty to help protect and preserve our beautiful state.” 2017 Great Arkansas Cleanup Final Results Infographic (PDF) About Keep Arkansas Beautiful The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff of three and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1 percent portion of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax and, by mobilizing volunteers, returns to the state a cost benefit of more than $6 in community service for each program dollar spent. For more information, visit or stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and...

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Join Keep Arkansas Beautiful’s cleanup initiative through October

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in News

Join Keep Arkansas Beautiful’s cleanup initiative through October Individuals and communities statewide encouraged to volunteer LITTLE ROCK (Oct. 9, 2017) – It’s not too late to join the Keep Arkansas Beautiful (KAB) Great Arkansas Cleanup, which ends October 31, 2017. You can still #makeadifference. KAB is encouraging Arkansans to participate in a cleanup in their own community by the end of October. Last year’s Great Arkansas Cleanup featured more than 140 community events across the state involving more than 7,000 Arkansans, who picked up more than 210,000 pounds of litter from roughly 1,735 miles of roadways and waterways, and collected over 900,000 pounds of bulky waste at drop-off events. “We only have a few weeks left of the Great Arkansas Cleanup, but plenty of opportunities to volunteer,” said Liz Philpott, volunteer program manager at KAB. “We encourage every Arkansan to organize or participate in a local cleanup event and help keep our home clean and green.” Don’t miss your chance to volunteer during the Great Arkansas Cleanup. KAB will provide cleanup materials and supplies to registered cleanups, such as trash bags, gloves and safety vests to local events, while supplies last. There are cleanups registered in the following counties: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Bradley, Carroll, Chicot, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Cross, Franklin, Fulton, Garland, Greene, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Logan, Lonoke, Marion, Miller, Monroe, Newton, Phillips, Pike, Poinsett, Polk, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sharp, Washington, White, Woodruff and Yell. Volunteers may visit to access the event calendar to see all scheduled cleanups. Those who would like to volunteer can also email or call toll-free 888-742-8701.  About Keep Arkansas Beautiful The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1 percent portion of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax and, by mobilizing volunteers, returns to the state a cost benefit of more than $6 in community service for each program dollar spent. For more information, visit or stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  ...

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KVBB director receives state recycling award

Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in News

  By TANIAH TUDOR, Press Argus-Courier Staff Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:18 AM; Updated Oct 4, 2017 at 9:21 AM A Van Buren man known for his contributions to the beautification of the city was recently awarded for his individual efforts to increase recycling programs at the state and local levels. John Pope, Keep Van Buren Beautiful executive director, received this year’s Individual Recycler of the Year Award from the Arkansas Recycling Coalition. Each year, the honor goes to a person “who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of waste reduction, recycling, and sustainability in Arkansas over the past year,” according to the ARC website. “I’m overwhelmed,” Pope said. “It’s a highly respectable group.” Pope was named the recipient of the honor at the ARC conference in September. Robert Phelps, former director for Keep Arkansas Beautiful, nominated Pope for this year’s award. “John has been a champion for recycling ever since he became involved in Keep Arkansas Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful,” Phelps said. “Some of the things he has accomplished there in Van Buren … have really impressed me.” Pope has worked on numerous recycling and beautification projects in Van Buren and throughout the area, including city-wide clean ups twice a year, a yearly electronic waste collection and ongoing cigarette litter prevention. He helped create a Van Buren School District recycling program, and started a regional recycling competition for schools participating in Recycle-Bowl. As state commissioner for Keep Arkansas Beautiful for several years, Pope worked to get communities across the state to host annual America Recycles Day...

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Practice These 5 Safety Tips During Fire Prevention Month

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in News

Forest fires and air pollution from burning trash can have a devastating impact on wildlife, the ecosystem and the local community. In honor of National Fire Prevention Month, it’s important to educate ourselves on the simple ways we can all prevent forest fires and protect The Natural State. When it comes to fire safety, picking up litter and practicing safe burning habits are key components to making our state safer and protecting its natural landscape. Here are five helpful tips for fire safety: Buffalo National River Image courtesy of the National Park Service Properly Dispose of Old Tires In Arkansas, it is illegal to cause or permit the open burning of tires. The ability for rubber tires to absorb heat makes extinguishing them very difficult once ignited. They are made of very combustible compounds, including carbon, oil, benzene, toluene, rubber and sulfur. Not only that, they can have a negative effect on air quality. Burning tires releases a toxic soup of pollutants that can increase the risk of heart disease and aggravated respiratory ailments, among other life-threatening health issues.   Arkansans alone dispose of more than 3 million tires each year! The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has developed a recycling program to help dispose of the tires safely. Each month, you may dispose of four tires for free at your area’s Regional Solid Waste District. Learn more here.   Pick Up Your Butts! Cigarette butts are a key contributor to roadside and forest fires. They are also the most commonly littered item in the U.S. and the world. In 2015, tobacco litter caused 47 percent of all U.S. brush fires. With approximately 4.3 trillion cigarette butts littered globally each year, smokers in the U.S. account for littering more than 250 billion of those cigarette butts. It’s interesting to think that some of the largest-recorded forest fires were caused with the seemingly simple flick of a cigarette butt. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cigarettes are quite often littered within 10 feet of a permanent ashtray or trashcan. So please, properly dispose of your cigarette butts to reduce wildfires. Don’t Burn Your Household Trash Arkansas law prohibits the burning of household garbage. Household trash contains many more toxins now than it did generations ago. Our typical trash includes plastics, metal containers and other items that contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the population and the environment. The law states that anything “manmade” is illegal to burn. In the past, burning was the only way for many rural Arkansans to manage trash, but now nearly everyone has curbside collection or drop-off centers for garbage and recyclables. For more information, contact your city hall or county judge’s office. Find Alternatives for Disposing Yard Waste Debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires in Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission. While there isn’t a state law against...

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Governor’s Address: The Great Arkansas Cleanup

Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in News

Column Transcript No one is more passionate on the subject of trash and litter than Mark Camp, the new director of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission. And to my surprise, he has informed me that discarded cigarettes are the No. 1 litter issue in Arkansas. It’s Mark’s responsibility to see that we clean them up. The topic is timely today because we are in the midst of the 2017 Great Arkansas Cleanup. Volunteers around the state are scouring the roadsides and beating the bushes, bagging up fast-food wrappers, old tires, discarded shoes, dirty diapers and a wide variety of other man-made debris. Mark is stepping into the big shoes of a couple of others who were passionate about keeping Arkansas picked up. The late Carl Garner started it all as chief of the engineering division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Greers Ferry Project. Mr. Garner loved the lake, and in 1969, he started what became an annual cleanup around the lake. In 1985, then U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers helped pass the Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Act, which requires a clean-up of all federal lands the weekend after Labor Day. For the past 20 years, Bob Phelps was the executive director of Keep Arkansas Beautiful. He retired this summer, and Mark took over. Arkansas is one of the Top 10 states for pounds of trash per person – not a statistic we should brag about. Mark attributes our ranking to our consumption of fast food – the wrappers and cups often end up everywhere but a trash can. Mark notes that people in pickups inadvertently contribute to the problem when they deposit their trash in the truck bed. More often that not, the wind blows the trash out. As for cigarette butts, Mark can tick off many problems. For instance, the butts are made of cellulose acetate, not cotton, and that’s a plastic that doesn’t biodegrade. The filters are designed to remove toxins from tobacco smoke, so each butt is a poison-filled capsule that birds and other animals ingest. Rain washes the butts into storm drains, and they eventually travel into our waterways, where fish can swallow them. At, Mark and his staff have posted information about clean-up events around the state. You can register to volunteer. This year’s campaign ends October 31. In 2016, 14,000 volunteers picked up over 500,000 pounds of trash – that’s 252 tons. Volunteers collected 1.8 million pounds of bulky waste and over 9,500 tires. Volunteers cleaned 1,100 miles of roadside, 1,300 miles of waterway and 17,000 acres of parks and other public areas. Volunteers also planted over 4,300 trees, shrubs and flowers. Arkansans are generous people who take care of a need when they see it. The numbers from last year’s Great Arkansas Cleanup bear that out. I’m confident that when Director Camp releases the numbers from this year’s campaign, the statistics...

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