This year, we honor a local resident making huge impacts at the National level and one of About You magazine’s Intriguing Women of 2020.
Tanya Smith serves as the President/ Founder of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR). The non-profit organization was formed in 1992 when Tanya and her parents purchased 460 acres 7-miles south of Eureka Springs, Arkansas with the goal of saving and providing lifetime homes for unwanted and neglected exotic cats.
TCWR was a leading sanctuary to help get the Big Cat and Public Safety Act passed into law. President Biden signed the Bill into law December 20, 2022. This Law will prevent abuse to Big Cat cubs and eventually stop the breeding of these animals in captivity for the cub petting industry.
TCWR started an innovative college graduate intern program in 1996 and has trained more than 500 biologists and zoologists now employed at zoos, sanctuaries and veterinary clinics around the world.
Tanya currently serves on other Board of Director’s. Turpentine Creek Foundation, Inc., Arvest Community Bank Board, Arkansas Hospitality Foundation Board, Northwest Arkansas Tourism Association (NATA) and the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance.
Tanya is a Founding Member of the Court of Cavaliers and an active member on the Rescue Committee of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA), a member of Eureka Springs, Berryville, Bentonville/ Bella Vista, Rogers/ Lowell, Springdale, Fayetteville, Harrison and Branson Chamber of Commerce’s.
Tanya’s family has been caring for Big Cats since 1978. She is married to Scott Smith, who works for the refuge as Vice President and together have raised five children and has 7 grandchildren.