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Donated land will be used for bird sanctuary, nature preserve in Northwest Arkansas

by MARY BETH KEMP NWA Democrat-Gazette | July 25, 2022 at 4:20 a.m.

TONTITOWN -- Officials have announced plans for the creation of a 25-acre bird sanctuary.

Betty Hinshaw has partnered with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, a local nonprofit dedicated to protecting wildlife habitats, to donate the land for the sanctuary along Wildcat Creek near Tontitown.

The Betty Hinshaw Bird Sanctuary will host mostly grassland birds, the most rapidly declining birds in North America. The conservation area will be restored to its native grassland with local tall grasses and wildflowers.

"Like most people, I want to leave something behind that means something," Hinshaw said Monday. "I'm just happy our feathered friends will find a safe place to nest because of the responsibility the land trust has taken on."

Bald eagle, American goldfinch, Cooper's hawk, red-tailed hawk and eastern bluebird are a few of the species expected in the sanctuary. It also will conserve hundreds of grassland plant and animal species.

Marson Nance, director of land stewardship and research at the land trust, said in a news release he hopes the sanctuary inspires new generations of conservationists in Northwest Arkansas.

"I can't overstate the importance of what Mrs. Betty has done by donating this land to the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust," Nance said. "Not only has she preserved a piece of her family legacy, but she has also preserved a piece of our natural legacy."

Visitors will be able to bird watch as well as take a mile-long hike through the sanctuary, which will open to the public this fall.

The Northwest Arkansas Land Trust is a non-governmental, accredited, nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life through the permanent protection of land, according to the release.

Print Headline: Northwest Arkansas welcomes bird refuge

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