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One of the Best Bars in America, One of the Top 50 Places For Brunch in America, A National Climate Protection Award, One of the Top LGBT-Friendly Places for Gay Senior Travel and Retirement, and The Voice Auditions.

Cover photo by @ericj_mueller on IG

@maxinestaproom on IG
Maxine’s Tap Room (Fayetteville)

The Best Bars in America list by Esquire named twenty-seven watering holes across the nation that they praise for “deepening a sense of community and making everyone feel at home . . . while also pouring exactly what you need.”

The Excerpt:

“In 1950, 24-year-old Maxine Miller borrowed $10,000 from her parents and opened the bar she’d preside over for the next 50 years. She became a surrogate mom to generations of college students missing their own mothers though perhaps not all mothers dispense advice from a stool in reach of a wooden club in case of a bar fight. She’s gone on to that cocktail lounge in the sky, but the bar has been taken over by another business-savvy woman. Her thoughtful remodel retains a pay phone with a recording of Maxine’s last call: “May I have your attention, please! You have ten minutes to drink, then get the hell out!” Drink this: A retro cocktail. 107 North Block Avenue —Beth Ann Fennelly”

Full Article
The Buttered Biscuit (Bentonville)

Next up, brunch! Named one of the Top 50 Places to Brunch in America, the Buttered Biscuit in Bentonville should earn a spot on your foodie bucket list.

The Excerpt:

“An honest breakfast with high quality ingredients that people will come from miles around to get their hands on. Case in point? Their black bean benedict has black bean cakes topped with basted eggs, grilled tomato and avocado and it’s topped with a hollandaise sauce and fresh cilantro.”

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@thebutteredbiscuit on IG
@thebutteredbiscuit on IG
The Buttered Biscuit (Bentonville)

Next up, brunch! Named one of the Top 50 Places to Brunch in America, the Buttered Biscuit in Bentonville should earn a spot on your foodie bucket list.

The Excerpt:

“An honest breakfast with high quality ingredients that people will come from miles around to get their hands on. Case in point? Their black bean benedict has black bean cakes topped with basted eggs, grilled tomato and avocado and it’s topped with a hollandaise sauce and fresh cilantro.”

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Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan Receives National Climate Protection Award

The Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards Program, an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Walmart, recognizes the nation’s mayors for their successful and innovative energy and climate-protection efforts. The City of Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan won top honors in this year’s U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards. The Mayor was honored in the small city category (under 100,000 population) for Fayetteville’s Wastewater Solar Power and Storage Project.

What the Mayor said:

“Climate change is affecting cities around the world,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “The City of Fayetteville is committed to honoring goals of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement, starting right here in our own community. We want to lead by example for our residents, students, businesses, and utility partners—showing the nation that supporting low-carbon initiatives not only promotes renewable energy and efficiency—it also creates opportunities for good jobs and investments in the Northwest Arkansas region. Fayetteville’s Wastewater Solar Power and Storage Project demonstrates our commitment.”

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Eureka Springs

Expedia Travel scoured the nation (and world!) to find some of the best places for gay retirement and travel. Only eleven LGBT-friendly destinations, from Stockholm, Sweden to our very own Eureka Springs, Arkansas, were named for their progressive legislation, gay-focused and gay-run businesses, and welcoming attitudes.

The Excerpt on Eureka Springs:

“Eureka Springs is called the Gay Capital of the Ozarks for good reason! It was the first Arkansas city to endorse marriage equality. You may come for the arts and nature, but you’ll want to stay for the welcoming community.

Play: Eureka Springs is a funky little art colony set in a Victorian village. Indulge in the various art galleries, from The Birdcage to Zarks Gallery. Spend time exploring the picturesque Ozark scenery and searching for the famous springs. Downtown has more bars per capita than anywhere in the state, so you’re sure to find a place for a cold one. The Rowdy Beaver Den and Henri’s Just One More are popular watering holes.

Stay: Though Eureka Springs doesn’t have any LGBT retirement options, property is affordable. Once you see the quaint cottages lining this small town, you’ll want to move right in.

Mark your calendar: Out in Eureka hosts Diversity Weekends and gay pride events throughout the year. Check out Summer Diversity 2019 in early August.”

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@hobbshallie on IG
@hobbshallie on IG
Eureka Springs

Expedia Travel scoured the nation (and world!) to find some of the best places for gay retirement and travel. Only eleven LGBT-friendly destinations, from Stockholm, Sweden to our very own Eureka Springs, Arkansas, were named for their progressive legislation, gay-focused and gay-run businesses, and welcoming attitudes.

The Excerpt on Eureka Springs:

“Eureka Springs is called the Gay Capital of the Ozarks for good reason! It was the first Arkansas city to endorse marriage equality. You may come for the arts and nature, but you’ll want to stay for the welcoming community.

Play: Eureka Springs is a funky little art colony set in a Victorian village. Indulge in the various art galleries, from The Birdcage to Zarks Gallery. Spend time exploring the picturesque Ozark scenery and searching for the famous springs. Downtown has more bars per capita than anywhere in the state, so you’re sure to find a place for a cold one. The Rowdy Beaver Den and Henri’s Just One More are popular watering holes.

Stay: Though Eureka Springs doesn’t have any LGBT retirement options, property is affordable. Once you see the quaint cottages lining this small town, you’ll want to move right in.

Mark your calendar: Out in Eureka hosts Diversity Weekends and gay pride events throughout the year. Check out Summer Diversity 2019 in early August.”

Learn More
@nbcthevoice on IG
NBC’s ‘The Voice’ Coming to Northwest Arkansas

The hit show recently announced that they will be holding appointment-only auditions in Fayetteville on July 23rd! Vocalists interested in auditions are required to apply online. They are searching for solo artists, duos, and trios that perform all types of music: pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, alternative, latin, country, blues, indie.

Learn More

The post NW Arkansas People and Places Among the Best of the Best appeared first on Finding NWA.

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The NWA Farmers’ Market Trail is a unique event highlighting the many diverse and abundant farmers’ markets in Northwest Arkansas!

Cover photo by @itsshawnburns on Instagram

”Northwest Arkansas is home to many thriving farmers’ markets. Some have been active for over forty years, while others are still in their infancy, but all are powered by folks who are passionate about growing our local food economy.

Farmers' Market Alliance
It’s simple: Support local farmers, be entered to win prizes.

Retrieve your passport from your local market manager and visit at least 5 out of the 10 participating farmers’ markets in the passport by July 31, 2019 to enter the drawing for some fabulous local farmers’ market items.

To be entered for prizes, submit the stamped page along with your name and contact info (last page of passport) to your local farmers’ market manager by August 1, 2019. The drawing will happen on August 8th during National Farmers’ Market week!

For more information or questions, visit here or contact heatherf@uark.edu. #FindingNWA on IG in your market adventures!

The post Explore the NW Arkansas Farmers’ Market Trail appeared first on Finding NWA.

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This full-time position serves to further promote Fayetteville as a tourism destination for cyclists as well as furthering relationships between Experience Fayetteville and local, regional, and national cycling organizations.

Cover photo by @kangaroo_elite on Instagram

Employer: Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission
Unit: Experience Fayetteville
Title: Bike Fayetteville Coordinator

Are you into road and offroad cycling? Are you an advocate for all forms of cycling? Can you speak to and collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders regarding the value cycling brings to our community? If you answered “yes” to all three, this job may be a perfect fit for you.

Here are a few of the minimum and preferred qualifications:
  • Experience in organizing public, community events
  • Familiarity with Fayetteville, Arkansas and the Northwest Arkansas region
  • Knowledge of NWA cycling amenities including soft-surface trails and popular road routes
  • 3 years’ experience within a convention and visitors bureau or cycling organization
  • Experience in raising funds and securing sponsorships
Sound good? Explore the full job description and learn how to apply below.

The post Cool Job Alert: Bike Fayetteville Coordinator appeared first on Finding NWA.

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From roboticist-led startups to a new robotics training center to summer camps focused on robot design—we are witnessing the rise of the robots in Northwest Arkansas. Check out this collection of robot-inspired news and regional happenings below!
Northwest Arkansas Robotics Startups and Teams Garner Domestic and Worldwide Recognition

Robotics startups and teams are causing a stir in Northwest Arkansas: AMBOTS, MORE Technologies, and a Springdale robotics team are making waves in the region by receiving awards, getting shout outs from tech giants, and catching the eye of consumers.

AMBOTS—an advanced manufacturing startup that specializes in swarm 3D printing and assembly—has recently received praise from GE in their article “The 5 Coolest Things On Earth This Week” for their incredible work “at the intersection of 3D printing and swarm robotics” (GE). AMBOTS is a startup that emerged out of a research project at the University of Arkansas Department of Mechanical Engineering and it works through “the notion that many robots are better than one, and that bots working in swarms can complete tasks faster and more efficiently” (GE).

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MORE Technologies is another success story that has sprung from the University of Arkansas: The robotics startup was started by the 21-year-old computer science major Canon Reeves in Fayetteville in April 2018. This startup has since made great strides with the company generating revenue within two weeks of starting business and now having successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign (Talk Business). The 161 Kickstarter backers contributed $21,711 to the company over 40 days; this contribution “allowed backers to order the company’s 3D printed robot, MOREbot, at a discounted price” (Talk Business).

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MORE Technologies is another success story that has sprung from the University of Arkansas: The robotics startup was started by the 21-year-old computer science major Canon Reeves in Fayetteville in April 2018. This startup has since made great strides with the company generating revenue within two weeks of starting business and now having successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign (Talk Business). The 161 Kickstarter backers contributed $21,711 to the company over 40 days; this contribution “allowed backers to order the company’s 3D printed robot, MOREbot, at a discounted price” (Talk Business).

Learn More

But Reeves and his co-founders aren’t stopping there—they’ve carried their success over to yet another startup, Flip, which they were able to jumpstart through the help of the NWA Startup Weekend: an event “designed to foster education for up-and-coming entrepreneurs” (AMP). Flip is a 3D printer that stands out from the competition: “Instead of a limited printer with only one head, Flip uses multiple heads—as many as 16 in total … [which] significantly reduces the amount of time required to mass produce a particular product” (AMP). According to AMP, the idea for Flip came to Reeves and his partners on a road trip because they “were having the same problems, other companies probably were as well” and Flip was the solution.

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A Springdale robotics team has also been making headlines, showing that even the youngest engineers can achieve incredible success. The Root Negative One competitive robotics team, coached by the University of Arkansas engineering faculty members, has “received the Inspire Award, the top judged award at the 2018-2019 FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship” (UARK Newswire). Root Negative One was “one of the top two teams among the more than 7,000 FIRST Tech Challenge teams worldwide that competed in the 2018-2019 season,” states the University of Arkansas Newswire. On top of this, Root Negative One has just been chosen “to represent the United States at an international competition this fall” in Dubai, in what senior Abby Herrera has called “the robotics Olympics” (NWA Online). We will be rooting for you, Root Negative One!

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A Springdale robotics team has also been making headlines, showing that even the youngest engineers can achieve incredible success. The Root Negative One competitive robotics team, coached by the University of Arkansas engineering faculty members, has “received the Inspire Award, the top judged award at the 2018-2019 FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship” (UARK Newswire). Root Negative One was “one of the top two teams among the more than 7,000 FIRST Tech Challenge teams worldwide that competed in the 2018-2019 season,” states the University of Arkansas Newswire. On top of this, Root Negative One has just been chosen “to represent the United States at an international competition this fall” in Dubai, in what senior Abby Herrera has called “the robotics Olympics” (NWA Online). We will be rooting for you, Root Negative One!

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NWA Regional Robotics Training Center Launches in Fayetteville

“The program is open to anyone who is ready to step up, work hard, and not just prepare for the future, but to help build the future.”

NWA Regional Robotics Training Center

There was never a better time to start building your career in technology than right now. The super cool and highly profitable industry of robotics is booming in Northwest Arkansas which offers several opportunities for people of different ages and experience levels to learn about technology in a focused, hands-on environment.

The newly-minted NWA Regional Robotics Training Center has recently opened its doors to offer courses that will provide both “local Arkansans as well as visitors from around the country” with training and certification to fill the huge demand for skilled professionals in the field (NWA Robotics). The training center “is a partnership between the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and NWACC. At the end of the week-long course, students can earn certification as a FANUC robotics technician” (KUAF).

These new robotics courses will provide especially great job opportunities for students who are interested in technology and want to pursue it right after their GED. Robotics specialists are greatly sought after by local manufacturing companies like Tyson, which can offer jobs that earn up to $40,000 a year (NWA Online). The steadily-increasing demand for technological skill-based workers makes a robotics certificate an attractive asset for anyone looking to move their career in this direction. Classes begin the week of June 24. Check out more information about the NWA..

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It’s official! The National Park Service announced the designation of Buffalo National River as an International Dark Sky Park!

Cover photo by Jeff Rose on Instagram

There is officially no better place in (NW) Arkansas to gaze at the stars than America’s first national river. After a two-year effort by park staff and volunteers to lower the park’s use of artificial light at night, the Buffalo National River earned the designation from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), the recognized authority for night sky protection. The Buffalo National River is the first in Arkansas, 26th National Park Service site, and 71st in the world to receive the designation.

This news comes on the heels of a 2018 National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects Report which estimated that 1.2 million visitors spent $54.9 million in the region while visiting the river last year and a recent announcement by Gov. Asa Hutchinson that a deal had been reached to remove an industrial swine facility from the watershed of the Buffalo River.

Visitors can go celebrate all of the good news and experience the wonder of a natural night sky at the upcoming Star Party at Tyler Bend Pavillion on Saturday, June 29th from 8:30pm-10:30pm! If you can’t make the party, keep an eye on their calendar for upcoming ranger-led, campfire discussions with views of the Milky Way.

@thejeffrose on IG: Ponca, AR
@thejeffrose on IG: Buffalo River
@thejeffrose on IG: Boxley, AR

The post Buffalo National River Named First International Dark Sky Park in Arkansas! appeared first on Finding NWA.

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Outside Online, a preeminent outdoor adventure magazine, asked their editors and writers for their all-time favorite drives—and we made the list!

Cover photo of Buffalo River by @hayden.j.boyle on Instagram

The Excerpt
Bentonville to Mount Magazine State Park, Arkansas

“Pack a trail bike, a canoe, and a pair of hiking shoes for this tour of America’s most overlooked mountain range: the Ozarks. Start by exploring Bentonville, home to Walmart, the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and hundreds of miles of the best mountain biking between the Appalachians and the Rockies. From there, it’s just an hour drive east on U.S. 62 to funky Eureka Springs for a dose of classic Victorian structures, hip art galleries, and the Thorncrown Chapel, an architectural gem of soaring glass and timber set in the surrounding woodland. Veer south to Scenic Byway 7 and head for the Buffalo National River to float easy rapids below its 500-foot-tall limestone bluffs. Climbers should make a detour to nearby Horseshoe Canyon, a dude ranch with over 400 established routes and the site of the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell climbing competition, held every autumn. After crossing the Arkansas River, it’s a short jaunt east to the Ouachita Mountains and hang gliding, backpacking, and camping at Mount Magazine State Park.”

Source: Outside Online

The post One of Best Road Trips in America Starts In NW Arkansas appeared first on Finding NWA.

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Northwest Arkansas ranks as one of the nation’s Most Dynamic Metropolitans, a new report shows.

The region ranks No. 2 among all the nation’s medium-sized metropolitan areas, research made public today by the Walton Family Foundation reveals. Provo, Utah ranks No. 1; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida is No. 3.

Northwest Arkansas ranks No. 17 among all metropolitan areas in the U.S.

“The data show that a knowledge-based economy is key to unlocking economic potential in metropolitan areas across the United States,” said Ross DeVol, a former chief research officer of the Milken Institute who is now a Walton Fellow. “Cities making investments in a knowledge-based economy have performed better economically than those that have not.

 “Technology sectors are under-represented, and too little emphasis is placed on supporting entrepreneurs in Heartland metropolitan areas. Investors must be willing to support early-stage firms, and more universities need to embrace commercialization as a critical part of their mission and educational attainment, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for economic progress in the Heartland and throughout the nation.”

The executive summary of the Dynamic Metros Report shows where the nation’s leading regions rank. The full report is available, too.

Northwest Arkansas over the past two years made significant strides to advance its investment in entrepreneurs.

The improvements include the Northwest Arkansas Council coming to an agreement that will bring Plug and Play to the region before the end of the summer.  The Plug and Play team will work with Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Services and the University of Arkansas to address supply chain and logistics challenges faced by the companies, bringing some of the nation’s top supply chain- and logistics-focused entrepreneurs to the region over a three-year period.

Other important steps to support entrepreneurs include WeWork Companies Inc.’s decision to expand to the region as it’s planning to erect a 200,000-square-foot building south of downtown Bentonville. The company provides shared office spaces at 425 locations in 27 countries.

Northwest Arkansas also saw the global organization Endeavor in March announce that it would create a new office in Northwest Arkansas.  A $2 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation will enable Endeavor to go to work. Endeavor NWA will focus on selecting high-impact entrepreneurs and businesses from multiple sectors that have the potential to scale significantly and reinvest back into the country by mentoring and providing financial support for future entrepreneurs.

There are also some important steps being taken at the University of Arkansas, which created an Office of Economic Development in early 2018. The establishment of the office came after a two-year strategic planning process that identified a need for the university to amplify its long-established role in the state’s economic success. The office works to expand economic opportunity and prosperity in Arkansas through talent development, innovative research and technologies, community service and placemaking strategies.

In the dynamic metropolitans report, each metropolitan area is ranked and reviewed on performance-based metrics, such as job growth, income gains, and the proportion of total jobs at young firms – a key measure of entrepreneurial performance. This is the first time that such research has been undertaken in this scope.

The post NW Arkansas Ranks #2 Among Mid-Sized Dynamic Metros appeared first on Finding NWA.

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How would you like to float Northwest Arkansas? A Sunset Kayak Tour, A Paddle Party, A Day Float, or A Waterfall Hike & Swim.

Cover photo by @ryanriley on Instagram

Sunset Kayak Tour at Hobbs State Park

Wednesday, June 12th | 7pm-10pm
Spend an evening on Beaver Lake while paddling your own kayak guided by a park interpreter. You will learn the basics of paddling as you all explore a calm area of Beaver Lake and take in the setting sun. Recreational kayaks, paddles and life jackets will be provided. Space is limited. Bring a bottle of water, bug spray, flashlight and dress for the weather.

Cost: $25 Adults, $12 children (9-12). Registration and pre-payment required. Call 479-789-5000 for more information and to register.

Northwest Arkansas Land Trust Paddle Party 2019

Saturday, June 15th | 2pm-8pm

Paddle and party for a great cause. Gather your family and friends and enjoy a beautiful day on the Illinois River with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust and Gypsy Camp & Canoe.

Choose your boat and let their team do the rest – your ticket includes:

  • The boat of your choice (single kayak, tandem kayak, canoe or guided raft)
  • Life jackets + paddles
  • Shuttle to the launch site
  • A leisurely 4.5 mile float along the Illinois River
  • River snacks
  • BBQ Dinner + Beverages (craft beer for 21+)
  • After party with live entertainment, games & more!
  • Kids under 12 float free with an adult ticket.

For an even more memorable experience, you can hop on board one of their expert guided small group rafts with the opportunity to learn first hand about the plants and animals that live along the Illinois River.

Proceeds from this fundraiser benefit the NW Arkansas Land Trust Land for Life campaign to save 5,000 acres of natural lands in the region by 2021.

Event sponsored by Gypsy Camp & Canoe, Illinois River Watershed Partnership, and Fayettechill

Ticket prices vary by vessel

Day Float on the Illinois with Ozark Adventure & Recreation

Saturday, June 15th | 3pm-9pm

OAR will supply all the gear you need including shuttles, food, drinks and guides so you can focus on having fun. All you have to do is sign up.

Enjoy a beautiful and peaceful 8 mile float on the Illinois River. Experience bluffs, cool water, and deeps pools. Finish the float with a ride through the Siloam Springs Kayak Park rapids.

  • Great for all skill levels.
  • Children 8 and up are allowed to use single kayak.
  • Children 5-7 must be in a tandem kayak with an adult. Call 479-431-0444 to reserve a tandem kayak.
  • Pickup is at 3:00PM at the Har-Ber High School parking lot in Springdale ( 300 Jones Rd, Springdale, AR 72762)

Ticket prices vary by vessel

Lewis & Clark Kayak Demo Day at Lake Fayetteville

Saturday, June 15th | 9am-12pm

Kayak demo day is happening folks! Lewis and Clark Outfitters will be setting up shop at Lake Fayetteville by the marina parking area, 9am – 12pm. Feel free to stop by at any point during that time period, no reservation time required. Everyone will get a chance to demo a kayak for 15-20 minutes. They will supply life jackets and paddles, but feel free to bring your own.

Free Event

Featured photo by @ryanriley on Instagram

Waterfall Hike + Swim with Ozark Adventure & Recreation

Saturday, June 22nd | 10am-3pm

Hike, explore, swim and have fun!

oin OAR for a day at Kings River Falls! OAR will drive an hour out of Fayetteville and partake in a two mile round trip hike that is perfect for folks of all ages! Hike and explore a mile downstream to view the beautiful falls and after that cool off by taking a dip in the pools below the falls! Enjoy snacks and drinks provided by OAR.

  • Waterfall Hike + Swim is for people 5 and up.
  • Bring swimsuit and towel.
  • Pickup will be at 10:00am at Fayetteville High School (994 M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Fayetteville AR 72701)

$30 per adult, $25 per child

The post Splish, Splash and Paddle Your Way Around NW Arkansas appeared first on Finding NWA.

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The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is currently accepting artist proposals for a brand new nature & arts festival. The awards range from $250-$1,500.

Immerse Wilson Springs

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust has been working for the last seven years to conserve and restore Wilson Springs Preserve, a 121-acre prairie wetland. Despite being in an urban area, the preserve is the largest wetland remnant in Fayetteville and one of the last tall grass prairies in the region. Public access plans are being implemented and the property is scheduled to open for public use in the summer of 2019. As part of the opening activities, they are hosting an immersive nature and arts festival unlike any other in Northwest Arkansas. Immerse: Wilson Springs will take place throughout September 2019, and will explore the connection between nature, arts, and the human experience through small-and large-scale temporary art installations; interactive theatre and musical performances; guided and self-led hikes; natural art making activities; plein-air, drawing, and nature photography workshops; wellness sessions; and other immersive activities for all ages. All events will center on the core public benefits of land conservation: clean water, healthy habitats, and access to nature and recreation. ​Proposals due by 11:59pm on June 21st.

If you are interested in visiting Wilson Springs Preserve prior to submitting your proposal, please email lembree@nwalandtrust.org for access information.

Video: Aerial View of Wilson Springs

The fish of greatest conservation need, The Arkansas darter, a fish candidate for federal endangered species listing, resides on the property.

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About Northwest Arkansas Land Trust

The purpose of the Land Trust is to protect quality of life in Northwest Arkansas, including clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, abundant scenic beauty, local food supplies, recreational opportunities, and our natural heritage for the benefit of the community and the many generations to come.​

Today, the population of Northwest Arkansas has exceeded 600,000, and the growth trend continues. Benton and Washington counties alone gain an average of more than 34 new residents every day. Our region is well known for its abundant scenic beauty, clean air, clean water, wildlife habitats, outdoor recreation, family farms, and rural charm. Although urban growth has brought many amenities to the region, we must protect these natural areas that provide such a high quality of life.​

The Land Trust provides local, voluntary, and permanent land protection services to landowners and municipalities who wish to forever conserve the special places that define our region.

The post NW Arkansas Land Trust Issues Call for Artists appeared first on Finding NWA.

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There are many positive things Walmart is doing that doesn’t grace the headlines, from the changes they’ve made in how they do business to the countless ways they give and strengthen our local communities—check out these recent efforts and announcements.
Social Impact is the Catalyst for Walmart’s Corporate Philanthropy

“Together, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation generally provide more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind to support programs that align with our philanthropic priorities. We focus on areas where we can do the most good—combining the unique strengths of the business alongside our philanthropy. Our ability to draw on Walmart business strengths, providing more than just funding, helps our philanthropy to deliver greater societal impact. — Walmart.org

Introducing Walmart.org - YouTube
1,400,000,000
In FY2019, Walmart donated more than $1.4 billion globally.

Walmart has increasingly been making efforts to redefine corporate philanthropy. Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer at Walmart and President of the Walmart Foundation, states in a LinkedIn post that Walmart’s corporate philanthropy puts considerations of social impact front and center in order to create opportunity and strengthen communities: “Many companies have come to realize the enormous potential of a more strategic approach to corporate philanthropy that aims higher and unlocks the power of business alongside philanthropy to help transform the societal systems that all of us, including business, rely on.” Walmart’s philanthropic approach is global in aspirations, as their strategy goes beyond what businesses can do and “seeks to build stronger systems in areas that align with our business strengths and matter to customers, associates, and stakeholders,” says McLaughlin.

Walmart is Taking Steps toward Becoming Environmentally Sustainable

“At Walmart, we are focused on reducing emissions in our operations, engaging suppliers to reduce emissions in supply chains, strengthening the resilience of our business, and using our voice to advocate for collective action.” — 2019 Environmental, Social, Governance Report

Environmental changes due to global warming affect us all, and big businesses like Walmart have an important part to play in reducing their environmental footprint and turning to more sustainable practices. As stated in Walmart’s 2019 Environmental, Social, Governance Report, Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. suppliers have improved their Sustainability Index scores by 28% compared to 2016, while achieving 6.1% reduction in “Scopes 1 and 2 annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 compared to 2015.” Besides taking these strides, an estimated 28% of the electricity used by Walmart comes from renewable sources, and that 81% of their “unsold products, packaging and other waste materials” has been diverted from landfills and incineration. Globally speaking, Walmart has diverted more than 1.6 billion pounds of food waste from landfills which is helping keep our environment cleaner. Walmart is also aiming at a zero-plastic-waste policy–something that consumers can easily get behind even with small acts like using one of their reusable fabric shopping bags.

Walmart has set out an ambitious environmental program for the future: by 2025, they want to “[a]chieve an 18% emissions reduction in our own operations […] compared to a 2015 baseline” and “[b]e powered by 50% renewable sources.” By 2030, they want to work with suppliers to “reduce or avoid carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions from Scope 3 by 1 giganton from global value chains.” They also want to achieve “100% recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable packaging in all Walmart private-brand products,” reads the report.

Walmart Incentivizes and Invests in Upward Mobility

“By 2025, Walmart U.S. will put millions of associates through focused training programs to equip them with skills to improve career growth, from entry-level positions to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay. Training programs include Pathways and Walmart Academy.” — 2019 Environmental, Social, Governance Report

The Environmental, Social, Governance Report also shows how Walmart is encouraging upward mobility, equipping employees with resources and skills to further professionalize. Their workforce development approach “focuses on access, stability, and mobility”: “Workforce development is one of the biggest issues facing economies around the world, especially as technology accelerates the pace of change for the jobs of today and tomorrow […] Because the retail industry provides a point of entry into the job market for millions of workers, it has the potential to act as a springboard for economic mobility if workers can gain the experience and skills required to advance.” This approach stems from the need to modernize Walmart’s workforce by teaching skills that are critical in the 21st century.

Walmart has also decided to expand a unique program designed for women and men who have at least five years of professional experience and who took a career pause of at least two years for caregiving. In partnership with Path Forward,  a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower people to restart their careers after time away for caregiving, the return-to-work opportunity will be available in multiple locations including San Bruno, Sunnyvale, and Carlsbad, CA; Bentonville, AR; and Reston, VA.  The aim is to recruit up to 100 candidates “to pursue roles in areas such as engineering, user experience, product management, and data science,” says Bobbie Grafeld, Vice President of People at Walmart Labs. With this “returnship” program, Walmart is hoping to add to the diverse technical talent at Walmart Labs. 

Walmart is addressing major potential risks to the dignity of workers. A signatory of Catalyst CEO Champions for Change, Walmart respects human rights in the supply chain, and has been working with and through their suppliers to mitigate “risks related to worker safety and well-being.” Additionally, Walmart places great importance on workplace diversity, as 55% of Walmart’s total U.S. workforce is female: “our efforts are underpinned by a commitment to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout our company. By investing in a more diverse and dynamic workforce, we hope to keep pace with evolving customer demands, while also acting as a force for economic inclusion.”

Lebron James and Walmart Team Up to Improve Local Communities

“The partnership with Walmart is about commitment to the community. Walmart has done so many things over the world, but it starts in your hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, same as me starting at my hometown of Akron, Ohio. We don’t forget where we come from.” — Lebron James

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Lebron James and Walmart have teamed up to strengthen communities by investing in their education, fighting hunger, and providing them with several other resources for growth. Janey Whiteside, Chief Customer Officer at Walmart, explains that chief responsibility of this partnership is “to make a positive impact in the communities where we operate. When communities are strong, and when the individuals who make up those communities thrive, we all win.” While Walmart’s primary purpose is to help lower the cost of living for families “so they can save money and live better,” they also see as strengthening communities as a chief objective, which is also a key goal of James.

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