Simmons First Foundation announced today a $150,000 donation to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Arkansas. The gift will support the chapter’s Youth Engagement Program and aid in efforts to restore wildlife habitat in the natural state through controlled burns.
“Simmons First Foundation is proud to support the mission and vision of The Nature Conservancy,” said Tommy May, chairman of the Simmons First Foundation. “With this donation, we want to ensure future generations connect with nature and learn to preserve our environment so that it may be enjoyed for years to come.”
Simmons First Foundation designated $110,000 of the gift to support TNC’s Youth Engagement Program (YEP) designed to inspire future conservationists and cultivate leadership and other skills through outdoor, recreation-based programs. TNC partners with other non-profits, agencies, schools, and community groups to meet youth where they are and offer fun, safe, recreation-based field experiences such as hiking, biking, paddling and fishing. For many youths, it is their first time experiencing the outdoors and connecting with nature in this way. Examples of programs include:
- The Bryant Boys & Girls Club summer adventure series to introduce youth to outdoor activities and skills, such as camping, kayaking and fishing
- An after-school bike club and clinic for 6th graders at Horace Mann Middle School in Little Rock to learn introductory mountain biking skills
- Working with Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas on opportunities to earn new badges for skills such as canoeing and backcountry readiness
- Working with Immerse Arkansas to provide new outdoor experiences to youths in the foster care system
- Working with Little Rock Parks & Recreation to host biking, fishing and paddling events at a variety of city parks
“We are grateful to Simmons First Foundation and Simmons Bank leadership for investing in our youth engagement program and habitat restoration in Arkansas,” said Scott Simon, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas. “Most of us can trace our love of nature and conservation to an early memory or experience – exploring the woods, fishing with a grandparent, or canoeing with friends. Far fewer young people are having those experiences today. We want to cultivate that interest and curiosity in our youth so that we are nurturing the conservationists of the future. It is core to our mission!”
The YEP reaches approximately 600 youth and families annually through at least 30 unique programs, many of which are currently located in central Arkansas. Within the next two years, The Nature Conservancy plans to expand the geographic reach of the program to northwest and south Arkansas and the Arkansas Delta.
For 30 years, The Nature Conservancy and its partners in Arkansas have been restoring habitat through controlled burns. Arkansas’ fire community is working to increase habitat restoration through burning from an average 350,000 to 600,000 acres every year. Simmons First Foundation has designated $40,000 to support the purchase, training, and maintenance of Arkansas’ first fire ignition drone to help accomplish this ambitious target and improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of prescribed burn in the state.
About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.
About Simmons Bank
Simmons Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Simmons First National Corporation (NASDAQ: SFNC), a Mid-South based financial holding company with approximately $23.4 billion in assets as of June 30, 2021. Simmons Bank operates 198 branches, including 68 in Arkansas, 48 in Missouri, 33 in Tennessee, 23 in Texas, 20 in Oklahoma and 6 in Kansas. Founded in 1903, Simmons Bank offers comprehensive financial solutions delivered with a client-centric approach. Simmons Bank was recently named to Forbes magazine’s list of “World’s Best Banks” for the second consecutive year and ranked among the top 30 banks in Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Banks” for 2021. Additional information about Simmons Bank can be found on our website at simmonsbank.com, by following @Simmons_Bank on Twitter or by visiting our newsroom.