Audubon Arkansas is proud to announce that Jack and Pam Stewart of Jasper, Arkansas, have been given the William Dutcher Award for the Mississippi-South region by the National Audubon Society. The award was given during the 2019 National Audubon convention in Milwaukee in July. The William Dutcher Award was established to recognize outstanding Audubon volunteers who exemplify the standard of service to Audubon established by William Dutcher. As beneficiaries of Dutcher’s legacy, Audubon members can be proud to emulate him.
Jack and Pam Stewart have been champions for birds and the environment in the Mississippi Flyway and across the country for many years. They have supported Audubon’s work and the Little Rock Audubon Center and have been active advocates, including in our successful campaign this year to expand solar energy use and access throughout Arkansas. Jack served two terms on the National Audubon Society board as regional director representing the Mississippi Flyway South, and he currently serves as the education secretary for Arkansas Audubon Society, which he and Pam have also supported in many ways. Pam leads Arkansas Audubon Society’s Bird-Friendly Yards Initiative to promote the use of native plants, remove hazards to birds, and encourage personal action. And in June, Jack and Pam saw a victory in their six-year campaign to close a large hog operation that was threatening the Buffalo River, which is an Important Bird Area, America’s first National River, and a tourism destination and economic engine. Jack and Pam mobilized Audubon Arkansas, the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, and many other organizations and advocates to protect this vital watershed. That’s what they do – they bring people together to protect birds and the places they need. And for these and many other accomplishments, we are so pleased to have presented Jack and Pam Stewart with the William Dutcher Award for their service.
William Dutcher was the first chairman of the National Association of Audubon Societies in 1905. A tireless birder, researcher and scholar, he was one of the first to promote the idea of bird sanctuaries, conservation education and bird photography. He was instrumental in convincing President Theodore Roosevelt to set aside Pelican Island, the first federal wildlife refuge, and fought for early wildlife laws. Recognizing the need for effective local organizations, Dutcher helped create the first Audubon chapters and oversaw Audubon’s growth from a loose-knit federation to a powerful society.