May 6, 2009
Arkansas Hall of Fame to Induct Elk Foundation Leaders
MISSOULA, Mont.—Longtime volunteer leaders and supporters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Bert and Cheryl Haralson of Augusta, Ark., have been selected as 2009 inductees to the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame.
The husband-and-wife team will be recognized at the 2009 Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet and ceremony on Sept. 11 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
The Haralsons’ selection was based in their deep involvement in elk conservation in Arkansas. They are key figures in cooperative planning and implementation of elk habitat programs along the Buffalo River. Perhaps the finest measure of their success lies in the fact that in 1998, their state held its first elk hunt since before the Civil War. Since then, many have enjoyed the privilege of hunting elk on public land in the hills of Arkansas.
“We view this induction into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame as an award for RMEF as well as ourselves. Certainly our work with RMEF is the cornerstone of our conservation efforts, although we are pleased to have permanently protected critical waterfowl habitat in Arkansas, too, which may be why my license plate reads, ‘ELKNDUX,’” said Cheryl.
Bert and Cheryl, who farm in Arkansas, believe their passion for land stewardship is fundamentally rooted in their dependence on the land for their livelihood.
Bert explained, “Good farmers must first be good land stewards. Farmers have always known that if you take care of the land, the land will take care of you. This is a basic truth for crop production but it holds true for wildlife, too.”
Their passion for elk also has helped the Haralsons influence conservation nationwide via service on the Elk Foundation’s board of directors and many volunteer committees. They have raised and contributed vital funding, donated conservation easements and received the Elk Foundation’s highest honor, the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award, which honors contributions of lasting significance to the benefit of elk, other wildlife and their habitat across North America.
“Bert and Cheryl’s worth to the Elk Foundation goes far beyond the obvious and visible. I personally consult with them often and rely on their volunteer perspectives on many organizational issues. They are invaluable, great people who really deserve this special honor in their home state,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
The Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame began in 1992 as a project of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and Ducks Unlimited to recognize Arkansans’ achievements in outdoor fields and to protect wildlife habitat.