Andrews is a conservationist and a leading voice for environmental protection in Arkansas. She has spent decades lobbying at the State Capitol as an “Advocate for Clean Water, Clean Air, Clean Energy and Recycling.” She’s helped save the Buffalo River, and her efforts in Little Rock led to the preservation of land that would pave the way for the River Trail. In 2018, the Ozark Society gave her the prestigious Compton Award recognizing her outstanding service.
Born in Oklahoma, she developed an interest in land and water as a farmer’s daughter. She went into the medical field and began her career at Central State Hospital in Norman, Okla., as supervisor of the blood bank. She moved to New York to work for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Clinical Laboratory. Then, she paused her career to study French in Paris at the Alliance Francaise and travel Europe. She also spent time as laboratory supervisor in Honduras. During her travels, she witness environmental disasters up close, and her concern for the environment and conservation deepened.
She settled in Arkansas in 1970 and spent the rest of her career at the McClellan VA Hospital in the laboratory and as ambulatory care supervisor and education coordinator. Her conservation efforts in Arkansas began with advocacy work that helped save the Buffalo River from dams and and would initiate the Buffalo National River designation in 1972. She served on the Arkansas Trails Council in the early 1970s, and she was appointed by two governors to the Arkansas Scenic Rivers Commission where she served for 10 years. She also joined the Ozark Society where she served as president for six years.
In 1991, she and her partner Dave Gruenewald and two others served as plaintiffs in federal court in a lawsuit to oppose a bridge across Jimerson Creek in Little Rock. In doing so, she opposed the City of Little Rock, the Corps of Engineers and its district engineer. This action is credited with preserving the landscape and paving the way for construction of the Big Dam Bridge and Two Rivers Bridge and the nationally recognized River Trail. She’s also worked with nonprofit agencies, government and churches to ensure Arkansas is a land of clean water and air. She has led many excursions on the Buffalo River and is a role model to women and children, teaching them survival skills and self-sufficiency.