Various dignitaries cut the ribbon Wednesday on the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in Riverfront Park.
The red carpet was rolled out for dignitaries and the Peabody ducks this morning in celebration of the opening of the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in the River Market district. Lucky ducks; they were the only wildlife not stuffed at the $7 million facility. All the Game and Fish bigwigs, Gov. Beebe and local leaders were on hand for the ceremony; Mayor Mark Stodola declared that there was no better locale for a nature center. The nature center was built with money from the 1/8-cent conservation tax levied on the hunter and non-hunter alike. By conservation, Game and Fish means buying up good hunting and fishing land, and by nature, it means ducks, bucks, bass and bream. The center has exhibits on Arkansas’s natural history, but the big focus is on small game and fish: Push a button and all the shooting ranges in Arkansas light up on a huge tilted map of the state. One wall is covered in hundreds of fishing lures; opposite it is a 20-foot-or-so aquarium teaming with sport fish. Stuffed geese fly overhead, elk horns hang from the wall. For the non-consumptive types: Bird feeders outside.
-- Leslie Newell Peacock