Martin Park Nature Center
Oklahoma City, OK
Martin Park Nature Center is a hub for nature exploration and education for visitors of all ages. Guided hikes, educational programs, and an interactive learning center provide park visitors with a place to learn about nature and wildlife in a serene suburban environment. The park is also a popular area for hiking, running, picnicking, and birding, and is often used as a backdrop for special occasion photography. Its proximity to the large suburban population of Oklahoma City brings over 4 million visitors to the park each year. This unique park experiences major impacts including vegetation loss, soil erosion, litter, visitors feeding and approaching wildlife, vandalism, theft, and impacts from dogs, which are not allowed in the park.
During the Leave No Trace team’s time on-site, they worked to bring targeted Leave No Trace education to local stakeholder groups including OKC Parks and Recreation Department, the National Park Service, Friends of Martin Park, and several local youth groups. The educational workshops were focused on the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, especially those that could be used to address and curb the specific impacts Martin Park faces. While on-site, the Leave No Trace team and park staff hosted a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt focused on various Leave No Trace topics. The scavenger hunt helped the 300 participants better understand the skills and ethics behind the Seven Principles. During a kayak clean-up, the Traveling Trainers worked with a small group of incredibly dedicated and engaged volunteers to remove 60 pounds of trash from Lake Hefner.
The staff at Martin Park Nature Center are now well equipped to weave Leave No Trace education throughout park messaging and education programs. The Traveling Trainers worked with all of the Martin Park employees to teach them how to effectively communicate Leave No Trace practices while engaging with park visitors. Several park partner organizations also have Master Educators and Trainers on staff who are able to easily provide a 2-day Trainer Course for Martin Park staff. This advanced training would prepare more park managers to effectively teach Leave No Trace, thus strengthening future minimum-impact education efforts moving forward.
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