Public Outreach and Assistance Division Katherine Benenati, Chief -
Congratulations to the 2013 Arkansas Environmental Stewardship Award winner!
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The Turner Bend Store in Franklin County was named the winner of the 2013 Arkansas Environmental Stewardship Award Friday for its long-term
involvement in improving the Arkansas environment. Teresa Marks, Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), presented the award
to store owners Brad and Vien Wimberly at Friday’s regular meeting of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission at the
ADEQ Headquarters Building in North Little Rock.
The Turner Bend Store is located at the junction of Arkansas Highway 23 and the Mulberry River about 10 miles north of Ozark. It offers
general merchandise and outdoor equipment, and also rents canoes to recreational enthusiasts using one of Arkansas’ most popular floating streams.
For more than 20 years, Wimberly has organized cleanup operations along the Mulberry River and the surrounding area near his store, as well as
sponsoring or participating in various other activities to improve the environment in that part of the state.
The annual Mulberry cleanup involves an average of 130 volunteers who usually pick up a ton or more of trash each year along a 40-mile stretch
of the river between the towns of Oark in northern Johnson County and Mulberry near the Franklin-Van Buren County line, as well as along highways,
county roads, Forest Service roads, and various back roads in the Mulberry watershed.
In addition, the store coordinates litter cleanups four times a year as part of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department’s Adopt-a-Mile
program on two miles of State Highway 23; partners with the Cass Job Corps Center to pick up litter between Cass and Interstate 40; and has worked
with organizers of the annual Wakarusa Music Festival near Ozark to coordinate litter cleanups along roads leading to the festival site.
Working with the Conservation Reserve Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, the store has also planted oak trees on
33 acres adjacent to its new Round the Bend campground; is sponsoring construction of one of seven large interpretive signs being placed by the U.S.
Forest Service along State Highway 215; and assisted in replacing old railroad crosstie steps with rock steps at the Campbell Cemetery access point
on the Mulberry.
“Small businesses have always been the backbone of the economy in the United States, but as Brad Wimberly and the Turner Bend Store have demonstrated,
they can also be big players in preserving and protecting our natural resources,” Marks said. “Every year we always have a broad cross-section of
nominees and finalists for the ENVY Award, representing major industries, cities and counties, non-profit organizations, and small business owners.
It’s never an easy decision to choose the winner, but we are always happy to be presented with that dilemma.”
The other finalists for the 2013 Envy Award were:
Beaver Water District, for development of an environmental education program for school children in the northwest Arkansas area focusing on
the importance of maintaining a high level of water quality in the region’s principal public drinking water supply.
The City of Fayetteville and the CH2M HILL engineering firm for significantly reducing operating expenses and the need to landfill biosolids
generated by the city’s wastewater treatment plant, while also producing high-quality fertilizer products utilized by agricultural operations
in northwest Arkansas.
Goodwill Industries of Arkansas for its comprehensive statewide recycling program that has diverted millions of pounds of materials--including
potentially hazardous electronic wastes--from landfills every year since 2008.
Pratt and Whitney’s aircraft engine parts manufacturing facility at Springdale for a pollution prevention program designed to save electricity
and operating expenses, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Beaver Water District
The City of Fayetteville and the CH2M HILL engineering firm
Goodwill Industries of Arkansas
Pratt and Whitney
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Since 2005 the Department of Environmental Quality has honored companies and individuals for their continued efforts to protect and enhance the
environment in extraordinary ways. These innovating projects and programs show that even one company or one person can make a difference in protecting
Previous ENVY winners include:
McKee Foods Corporation of Gentry
The Hot Springs/Garland County Beautification Commission