PINE BLUFF (AGFC) – Leadership within the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Education Division has chosen Eric Maynard of Pine Bluff to assume the role of Assistant Chief of Education, overseeing the AGFC's well-known nature centers throughout the state.
Maynard, an 18-year veteran with the AGFC, has seen the completion of all nature centers the AGFC has built.
"I was actually hired as the Delta Rivers Nature Center director in 1999, when it was still in planning and development," Maynard said. "The center opened in 2001 and I've been here ever since."
Maynard not only worked with the original design team for Delta Rivers, but he also oversaw a remodel of the center in 2010, as well as the addition of its Alligator and Bald Eagle exhibits. This experience should prove beneficial in the continued development of the Northwest Arkansas nature and education center, which is in the planning stages.
"I'm excited about taking on the challenge of bringing all we've learned at Delta Rivers to the Northwest part of the state," Maynard said. "But I'm also excited to work even more with the directors of the other centers around the state to help share ideas and information that can benefit the public."
Delta Rivers still receives a healthy attendance of 40,000 to 45,000 each year, but its influence reaches far wider than the Pine Bluff area.
"We've always prided ourselves in the fact that we don't just wait for people to come to us," Maynard said. "We do a lot of off-site programs from the center, traveling everywhere from Cabot to Hot Springs to Lake Village and everywhere in between."
This experience in onsite programming should serve well with Maynard's other primary responsibility in his new position – overseeing the work of eight Regional Education Coordinators throughout Arkansas. RECs play a vital role in supplying the AGFC's education message in areas where people cannot make it to a formal location.
"You may have a Hunter's Education course one night, followed by an introduction to archery at a local high school the following morning," Maynard said. "But all of the subjects have a focus on increasing the conservation message in The Natural State."
It may be a while before visitors stop seeing Maynard at Delta Rivers, however, as he will continue to share time between his first love and the AGFC's headquarters in Little Rock.
"I'll likely be on the road quite a bit with my new position," Maynard said. "But I'll have office space in Little Rock as well as Pine Bluff."