Tanya Smith is President and Co-Founder of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Formed in 1992 after Tanya and her parents, Don and Hilda Jackson, purchased 459 acres of land south of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Turpentine Creek was established to save and care for unwanted, abused, and neglected big cats. 25 years later, she continues to make strides in improving and developing the non-profit organization as a leader among big cat sanctuaries.
Married to Vice President, Scott Smith, together they implemented an internship program in 1996 as a way to promote awareness about the issues big cats face in the U.S. and abroad, and also, as a way to gain qualified help in caring for the rescued animals. To date, TCWR has trained hundreds of biologists and zoologists in the care of big cats, with many going on to work for zoos, sanctuaries, and as veterinarians around the world. With over 100 big cats and other animals, the Refuge is one of the largest big cat sanctuaries in America.
Serving on the Turpentine Creek Foundation, Inc. Board of Trustees, the Arvest Bank Board, and the Board of the Northwest Arkansas Tourism Association, Tanya believes that high tides raise the level of all boats and therefore continues to take an active role in her community.
She is a Founding Member of the Court of Cavilers, an active member of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, and a member of Chamber of Commerce of Eureka Springs, Bentonville/Bella Vista, Rogers/Lowell, Springdale, Fayetteville, Harrison, and Branson.
Tanya and Scott have raised five children, Victor, Britney, Haleigh, Miranda, and Dillon; and have been caring for big cats since 1978. When not rescuing exotic wildlife, Tanya can be found out in the water — swimming, boating, and enjoying all that nature has to offer.