HUNTSVILLE (AGFC) – The annual War Eagle Steward Award was presented to Ron Duncan of Springdale. Duncan is a Commissioner with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. He was honored for his lifelong dedication and appreciation of War Eagle River.
War Eagle Mill also was honored with a War Eagle Steward Award for its longstanding commitment to the War Eagle and the larger Northwest Arkansas community. Liz Kapsner, who handles marketing and sales for the mill, and Jennifer Keefe were on hand to receive the award.
Awards are presented each year during War Eagle Appreciation Day, a community-wide event held at Withrow Springs State Park. The daylong gathering includes a family friendly float with education stations, music and food, and activities focused on the environment and community. Award winners receive a metal sign that bears the War Eagle logo and identifies the recipient as a War Eagle Creek Steward.
The program promotes awareness of the impact that land owners, residents, business owners/operators and other community members have on the watershed and recognizes those who have worked hard to protect the War Eagle Creek watershed by in some way by making a significant contribution to the water quality of the War Eagle. War Eagle is a tributary to Beaver Lake, which provides drinking water for one in seven Arkansans.
"Anyone who knows me knows the War Eagle River is my religion," said Ron Duncan, a lifelong educator who's been floating, fishing and introducing young and old alike to the bounties of War Eagle for more than 40 years. Duncan said as much when he shared his love of the river while fishing in the Emmy-award winning 2011 documentary "Bridge to War Eagle."
Duncan founded what is now the nationally known "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" program, which originated with a fishing club he started in 1982 at Springdale Central Junior High School, where he was a civics teacher. Since that time, thousands of similar clubs have formed nationwide. In Arkansas, the program is administered by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Duncan was inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2004. Duncan has twice been honored as the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society Man of the Year and was the National Wildlife Federation Educator of the Year in 1999. Through the fishing clubs he's championed, Duncan has worked closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's education and fisheries divisions. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Duncan joined the Springdale School District in 1974. Duncan's term on the AGFC expires on July 1, 2015.
War Eagle Mill, Arkansas's only working water-powered grist mill, has been grinding fresh organic grains and flours for the community since the 1830s. The mill and its store and restaurant provide an inviting destination for locals and visitors alike, from tourists and motorcycle riders to serious arts and crafts visitors who return each year to this world-renowned and charmed place. The close knit staff at the mill love what they do and their enthusiasm and care for the food and products they market is palpable. War Eagle Mill, the picturesque, historic bridge, and all the environs surrounding it are forever tied to the health and well-being of the water that makes this mill possible. There's no doubt that the mill is a War Eagle Creek Steward and deserves recognition. For more information, visit www.wareaglemill.com.
War Eagle Appreciation Day occurs the first Saturday in June each year. Event partners and sponsors for 2013 included the William Rufus Stephens Jr. Memorial Fund, Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, Arvest Bank, Beaver Watershed Alliance, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Arkansas State Parks (Withrow Springs State Park & Hobbs State Park), Arkansas Master Naturalists, Lewis & Clark, War Eagle Mill, Arkansas Canoe Club, Madison County Search and Rescue, Huntsville Fire Department, Madison County Solid Waste and Recycling, Madison County Record, KTHS Radio, Kiwanis Club, Madison Coffee House, Wal-Mart, Ma and Pa's Bent & Dent, Audubon Arkansas, Elizabeth Richardson Center, Girl Scouts-Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma & Texas, Ozarks Water Watch, and Beaver Water District.