By Ronnie Weston| August 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM CDT - Updated June 30 at 11:45 AM
LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Conservation Conservation starts at ground level and David Snowden Sr. and David Snowden Jr. can attest to this from first-hand experience. The father and son will be inducted into the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Outdoor Hall of Fame for their achievements in outdoor fields and to protect wildlife habitat. The banquet will be held Sept. 6 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
In earlier years, David Sr. farmed near Scott, mentored by his stepfather, George Alexander. Alexander owned a duck club near Stuttgart on which the Snowdens began a life of working for wildlife for the present and the future. Kingdom Come has expanded to 3,500 acres in recent years and is treated more like a refuge with very light hunting pressure.
David Sr. was raised in Memphis and duck hunted with family at Wapanocca, with Wallace Claypool and friends at Claypool's and other clubs in the area. David Sr. developed a strong bond with the landscape and its inhabitants. "The greatest gift my father has given me is the love of nature. We believe that we should conserve great places and leave them for those that come behind us," David Jr. said.
Both Snowdens have been active and instrumental in the Arkansas Nature Conservancy, an organization dedicated to preserving the best natural landscapes in Arkansas. The Snowdens worked with the Nature Conservancy on a conservation easement that was placed on Kingdom Come. A conservation easement preserves the natural structure of a piece of property preventing development that would otherwise detract from its natural beauty and role in an ecosystem. "Kingdom Come winters tens of thousands of ducks" David Jr. says. "Dad and I want to be sure that it continues to serve as a refuge long after we are gone so it was an easy decision for us to place an easement on the property in perpetuity to ensure the landscape will never significantly be altered."
The Snowdens were leaders in the state using the conservation easement strategy. This strategy has been used many times since to preserve other lands around the state. An example is the Moro Big Pine project in south Arkansas. Potlatch, the timber company, owns the area, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, The Nature Conservancy and the Arkansas Forestry Commission joined together in 2006 to purchase a conservation easement to allow hunting and public access to 16,000 acres. "Sometimes it is hard to see conservation, but there are many people behind the scenes preserving our state's natural resources," David Jr. explained.
David Sr. and Jr. have volunteered for Ducks Unlimited and David Jr. served on the national board of Delta Waterfowl Foundation. Currently, in addition to serving on the board of the Arkansas Nature Conservancy, David Jr. serves on the board of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. "Our mission is to support the activities of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. One of the key ways we are doing that today is the Foundation's support and development of the Youth Shooting Sports. There are presently 7,000 youths participating in archery and trap shooting in Arkansas. They are our future hunting and fishing license holders and our future conservationists," he said.
Coming along in conjunction with these activities is the foundation's state-of-the-art shooting facility, under construction at Jacksonville in partnership with the city of Jacksonville. "The challenge has been to get kids back outside again and this program has been a huge success."
The Snowdens have also spent many days canoeing Arkansas' streams, fly fishing for trout and smallmouth, turkey hunting the state and duck hunting the Big Woods of the Cache and White river bottoms. They understand the importance of the state's waters as well as its land.
David Sr., and his wife Judy, have two children. David Jr., and his wife Terri, also have two children.
For more information on the Outdoor Hall of Fame and tickets to the induction banquet, contact Steve Smith at 501-223-6396 or Wendy Henderson at 501-223-6468.