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Chuck Dovish takes viewers to Arkansas's National Wildlife Refuges in special edition of "Exploring Arkansas"

"Arkansas's National Wildlife Refuges," a special edition of "Exploring Arkansas," will premiere on the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) on Sunday, March 6, at 4:30 p.m.

"National Wildlife Refuges are the best of what 'wild America' has to offer," host Chuck Dovish said. "There aren't any better places for children and adults alike to learn about the natural world."

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world's premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. Since its inception in 1903, the system has grown to more than 150 million acres, 553 national wildlife refuges and other units of the Refuge System, plus 38 wetland management districts. National Wildlife Refuges are specifically managed for wildlife and ecology, but the land is also for people to enjoy and is often referred to as "America's Best Kept Secret."

"National Wildlife Refuges are wild places, and I guess that word 'wild' doesn't appeal to the masses," Amanda Wilkinson, public use specialist at Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge said. "The Fish and Wildlife Service is taking a great initiative to try and change that. We're currently trying to connect people with nature and make any effort we can to appeal not only to the hunters and fishermen, but also the birdwatcher, wildlife enthusiasts hikers."

In this "Exploring Arkansas" special edition, Dovish visits the following National Wildlife Refuges:

  • Bald Knob, established in 1993 to protect and provide feeding and resting areas for migrating waterfowl.
  • Big Lake, located near Manila, established in 1915 to provide habitat and protection for migrating and wintering birds and is recognized as an important link in the Mississippi migration corridor.
  • Cache River, located near Augusta, established in 1986 to protect significant wetland habitats and provide feeding and resting areas for migrating waterfowl.
  • Felsenthal, located near Crossett, established in 1975 for an abundance of water resources and wintering waterfowl habitat.
  • Holla Bend, located near Dardanelle, established in 1957 to preserve habitat for wintering ducks, geese and bald eagles.
  • Overlow, located near Parkdale, established in 1980 to protect one of the remaining bottomland hardwood forests considered vital for mallard, wood duck and other waterfowl populations in the Mississippi Flyway.
  • Pond Creek, located near Lockesburg, established in 1994 to protect one of the remaining bottomland hardwood tracts in the Red River Basin and provide habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl such as Mallards, gadwall, American wigeon, northern shoveler and blue and green-winged teal.
  • Wapanocca, located north of West Memphis, established in 1961 to preserve habitat for migrating waterfowl, bald eagles, great blue herons and great egrets
  • White River, located near St. Charles, established in 1935 for the protection of neotropical migratory songbirds that use the refuge as a stopping point on their journey to and from Central and South America and features one of the largest remaining bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi River Valley.
"Arkansas's National Wildlife Refuges" will be available on DVD as a thank-you gift for a $60 donation to the AETN Foundation. Donations to the AETN Foundation may be made by calling 800-662-2386 or visiting www.aetnfoundation.org.

"Exploring Arkansas" is a one-of-a-kind program that showcases what Arkansas is all about and focuses on the extreme adventures available in the Natural State. Each episode includes high adventure and outdoor recreation, featuring some of the most breathtaking and spectacular sights in Arkansas. Chuck Dovish has been on the road in the Natural State for more than 30 years. He began "Exploring Arkansas" as a producer and host for AETN in May 2004. "Exploring Arkansas" airs each Monday at 6:30 p.m.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas’s statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit www.aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at www.aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).

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