The first Europeans to arrive in Arkansas were members of the Spanish expedition. Later the French and Native American groups came along. Arkansas became part of the Territory of Missouri in 1812. The cotton boom of 1818 brought the first large wave of settlers. In 1819, the area was made a separate entity. Arkansas achieved statehood in 1836.
Arkansas has at least 2,600 native plants, and there are many naturalized exotic species. Cypresses, tulip trees, beeches, water oak, hickory, apple blossoms and orchids are abundant. The native animals include 15 varieties of bats, mink, white-tailed deer, chipmunk, black bear, wild turkey, mourning dove, cat fish, paddle fish, salamander, and 36 kinds of snake. Twenty three animal species were listed as endangered or threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The leopard darter, bald eagle, gray bats, cave crayfish, least tern, red-cockaded woodpecker are listed as endangered. Among threatened plants listed are the pondberry, bladderpod, fringed orchid, and running buffalo clover.
Arkansans are taking steps that help protect their precious natural environment and move them towards a greener economy. They are committed to finding new energy sources and conserving the ones they have. They have developed green initiatives related to water, energy, recycling, and employee programs that are in line with their mission to inspire people to care about the planet. Arkansas Green Guide profiles the people, companies and technologies that are moving towards a more environmentally sound, sustainable way of life at work and at home. The Government bodies, lodging properties, businesses, restaurants, Arkansas Outdoor Power Equipment, etc, are actively promoting the ‘green cause’. From recycling to water conservation to using energy saving appliances and reducing carbon footprint, they are choosing eco-friendly options to help the environment from further damage. They have Environmental Green Plan for energy, water and solid waste use; manage environmental performance by monitoring electric, gas, water and waste usage information on monthly and annual basis; implement recycle programs (including those for hazardous materials found in fluorescent bulbs, batteries and lighting ballasts) to the full extent available, and purchase Energy Star labeled appliances and equipment. Such initiatives are also helping conserve wildlife and biodiversity in general. They play a crucial role in the conservation of vital ecosystems, critical wildlife habitats, and threatened species. They also strive to maintain essential ecological services, such as conservation of threatened flora varieties.