Dec. 19, 2018
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK — A northern pintail, a favorite of many waterfowl hunters and birders, is featured on the 2019 Arkansas Game and Fish Commission license plate, the 20th in the series.
The pintail artwork is the first duck featured in the series since a mallard was chosen to grace the plate on the 2004 edition.
Matt Burns, assistant chief of education for the AGFC, says the pintail was one of a few options that were presented, and a final decision was made based on a few factors.
“It has been a long time since a waterfowl-themed plate was available, and ducks are one of the calling-card species for Arkansas,” Burns said. “There were other species out there on existing plates, but no one had a pintail, and it’s just a really good-looking bird.”
The northern pintail also is a species that benefits from initiatives throughout the flyway to incorporate conservation work on working farm lands. Many of the more well-known government-funded land-use programs for conservation require landowners to take marginal land out of production, but new programs are being developed to address land practices that can bridge the gap between complete conservation and agricultural interests.
“There really is a lot of interest in programs under the ‘Working Lands for Wildlife’ initiative, where farmers can adopt some land practices to receive some added income and benefit wildlife while maintaining efficient farming practices,” said Luke Naylor, waterfowl program coordinator for the AGFC. “Pintails are going to benefit from many of these practices that help keep open-land habitat on the ground.”
Conservation license plates don’t just look good; they raise money for conservation concerns – about $1.2 million per year and more than $15 million since their inception.
Act 1566, passed in 1999, created the program. According to the act, “The design use contribution of $25 shall be deposited to the Game Protection Fund to be used by the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission for the purpose of sponsoring college scholarships related to the field of conservation, funding land purchases for the benefit of the public, and for conservation education programs.”
Burns says the license plate revenue is used to fund many conservation scholarships and internships for students looking to learn more about careers in conservation.
“Conservation License Plate funds also are used for conservation education in schools, such as schoolyard habitat program grants,” Burns said. “Students and teachers work together to create wildlife-friendly landscapes on their school grounds, to attract and benefit pollinators like monarch butterflies and songbirds.”
Each plate costs $35 annually, $25 of which goes to the AGFC Conservation Scholarship Fund; the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration receives $10. Plates may be purchased from DFA, Office of Motor Vehicles Special License Unit, P.O. Box 1272, Little Rock, AR 72203. To purchase in person, visit any revenue office across the state. Call 501-682-4692 for details.