Thursday, March 29, 2007

Oklahoma Nature

I have to pass this along. It sounds like a great opportunity to get out there and get a feel for some of the heart and soul of Oklahoma.

Arbuckle Simpson Nature Festival


Tishomingo, OK

Exploring Pontotoc Ridge Preserve; Blue River
Ecology; Nocturnal Creatures; For the Birds and Fish
Production are events being offered during the
Arbuckle Simpson Nature Festival, May 4, 5 and 6 in
Johnston, Pontotoc and Murray Counties.

This is the opportunity of a life-time,
announced Dr. Bill Pennington and Earl Brewer,
coordinators of the event. The Nature Festival is
offering a variety of tours and a lecture that should
appeal to everyone. We have one of the best areas for
viewing nature in Oklahoma and this event will
spotlight a natural resource not seen by most people,
Brewer stated.

Registration is now open for the 2 day event
which will originate from Murray State College. Event
fee is $25.00 per tour. Registration and information
can be obtained by contacting the Johnston County
Chamber of Commerce, 580-371-2175 or by visiting web
site: Registration will
begin each day at 7:00 a.m. at the Murray State
College Student Union. Advance registrations are
recommended, as size of tours is limited.

The Nature Festival was organized by a coalition
of TREES (Tishomingo Refuge Ecology and Educational
Society), Murray State College, Johnston County
Chamber of Commerce, Chickasaw Nation Enterprises, The
Nature Conservancy, Tishomingo National Wildlife
Refuge, Blue River Hunting and Fishing Area; City of
Tishomingo; Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery and
Chickasaw National Recreational Area.

Two topic tours are offered twice a day; once in
the morning 9:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. and afternoon
sessions, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tours of 50 people
will travel by charter buses to the various locations.

Opening day, Friday, May 4, the first sessions
offered will be Exploring Pontotoc Ridge Preserve in
Pontotoc County and Blue River Ecology. Both tours
will leave Murray State College Student Union at 8:30
a.m., and travel to their respective sites.

Exploring Pontotoc Ridge Preserve offers five
different habitat community types: Crosstimbers
Forest, Bottomland Forest, Mixed-Grass Prairie;
Tallgrass Prairie and Limestone Outcrop and
Sinkholes, stated Earl Brewer, president of TREES
(Tishomingo Refuge Ecology and Educational Society).
A variety of species that might be seen include
Painted Buntings, Summer Tanager and Red-eyed Vireo;
Grass/Forbes, Hairy Grama, Little Bluestem, Purple
Coneflower; buttlerflies, and a variety of reptiles.
This is a guided trail hike led by Jim Herndon of the
Nature Conservancy . Hiking boots and binoculars are

The Blue River Ecology tour will be held
northeast of Tishomingo led by Matt Gamble, fisheries
biologist. Participants will learn about the crystal
clear waters of the Blue River, formation process,
granite outcrops, fishing opportunities, need for
protection and the Seaside Alders. Hiking boots and
binoculars are also recommended for this tour.

A box lunch which includes a logo bag of the
Nature Festival will be available for a $10.00 fee.
Lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the MSC

The afternoon tours will leave MSC campus at 1:00

Friday night will feature a special Nocturnal
Event at Pennington Creek Park, Corbin Ranch and the
Tishomingo Wildlife Management Unit. Dr. Doug Wood,
Dr. Tim Patton and Dr. Bryon Clark from Southeastern
Oklahoma State University will lead the group to learn
about bats, nightjars, frogs and frog calls.
Participants will leave the MSC Student Union at 7:30
p.m. and the event is limited to 20.

Friday night will also feature a dutch treat
buffet meal at the Western Inn Restaurant in
Tishomingo. Exhibits of area wildlife photography
will be on display for the public to enjoy.

On Saturday a full day of events will begin with
an Early Morning Birding/Migratory Banding Station
at the headquarters of the Tishomingo Refuge beginning
at 8:00 a.m. Dr. Doug Wood and Jona Reasor TNWR
Wildlife Biologist will lead this group.

For the Birds will be a group session led by
Kris Patton, TNWF manager starting at 9:00 a.m. Patton
will give instruction on how to enjoy the beatufy of
birdlife around your home; improve the habitat: in
your yard; how to attract birds by placing bird
feeders, seed types; homes for birds, using bird
baths, what to plant native versus non-native, winter
shelter, protection from predators and how to use a
field guides. Earl Brewer will assist Patton on
Refuge Backyard Habitat, which includes the Cumberland
Pool and Cravens Nature Trail. This session will be
held once in the morning and again in the afternoon
starting at 2:00 p.m.

Fish Production of the paddlefish, alligator
gar, alligator snapping turtles and more will be
featured at the Tishomingo Fish Hatchery at Reagan
during Saturday sessions starting at 9:00 a.m. and
again at 2:00 p.m.
Pennington Creek Stream Ecology will give
participants information about aquatic life, Dr. Bill
Pennington stressed. The ecology field trip will
begin at 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Hip waders or
wading clothes are recommended for this field trip.
Ellen Tejan and Andrea Navesky, acquatic ecologists
with the Nature Conservancy will lead the field trip.

Lunch at noon will be at Sipokni West Cattle
Trail Restaurant with a chuck wagon style BBQ meal and
fixins for $12.50 per person. This will be a real
treat for our visitors to the area, commented Janis
Stewart, Johnston County Chamber of Commerce Director.

The Nature Festival participants will leave the
Old West setting at 1:30 p.m. to travel for the final
two tours of the day.

Saturday evening a dinner and program entitled
The Birds of Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge
will feature Dr. Doug Wood, associate professor of
biological sciences at Southeastern Oklahoma State
University. Dr. Wood teaches a wide range of courses
including ornithology, field ornithology, zoology,
conservation of natural resources, principles of
biology, geographic information systems (GIS) and
bioethics. The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a
welcome from Dr. Bill Pennington, President of Murray
State College and Earl Brewer, President of TREES.
The cost will be $15.00 per person. Seating for the
dinner and presentation is limited to 100 people and
will be held at Murray State College Student Union

Sunday will conclude the event with a self tour
of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area at Sulphur.
In the Nature Center Auditorium you will learn about
the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer and how its life blood
flows through the springs of the historic Platt
District of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

Presentation at the Nature Center is from 8:30
a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and the field trip starts at 9:00
a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Hiking boots and binoculars are
recommended. Tour # 2 begins at9:30 a.m. until 11:00
a.m. and the field trip from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Visitors are encouraged to visit local eating
establishments in Sulphur.

For more information or to register for events
please contact the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce
at 580-371-2175.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Ten Most Magnificent

Neatorama has a great post on the ten most magnificent trees. Check it out.

The Lorax

When I was a young boy, my Mother would send me and my sisters down to the grocery store and the post office. It was down about three blocks, across the highway and railroad to the town center. It is funny, it seemed much further than that. However, one summer, I was probably in middle school, the store was running a special. You bought so much product and you got a Dr. Seuss book. At the end of the special, the owner of the store had a great big pile of books left over. They were actually paper back, like comic books, and he gave us kids a copy of each title he had. In that was The Lorax. This book had a big impact on how I saw the world. I identified with it at a very deep and personal level.

I still have that soft bound promotional copy. I also found a hard back copy to read to my children. Dr. Seuss is the greatest author to read to your children because the words are so fun to roll off your tongue. However, the Lorax, where the grickle-grass grows is my favorite Dr. Seuss.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Doug Dawgz Blog

I can't say how much I enjoy Doug Dawgz Blog! check it out!

Senator Inhofe

What planet is Senator Inhofe living on? Even if you don't believe in global climate change and all the hype, is this guy for real? No wonder Oklahoma has such a shining record when it comes to the environment, water quality, landfills, pollution....

City cemetery revival instead of Rural?

The posted an interesting project on cemeteries. I think it is a great concept, and we should consider our cemeteries as historical green space that needs preserved. Even if we don't get out and walk the dog through them, which we should, it is a respite for the eyes in our cramped city quarters. Green space for the soul--literally.

Wind Power

I'm not very happy with OG and E's current advertisement. The underlying tone of it is that we don't necessarily need more wind power because the wind doesn't always blow. That is hogwash! I'm not saying we don't need back up power to fill the gaps, but lets be real!

Here is a little article about a region in Spain I found interesting.

70% Of Navarra's Power Comes From Wind, Solar

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Native American Cultural Center and Museum

Rendering of the new American Indian Cultural Center and Museum by Hargreaves Associates.

I have been watching the progress of Hargreaves Native American project in Oklahoma City. American Indian Cultural Center and Museum has a site update link that gives a little closer look at the site. What is incredible is the picture below of the more than fifty producing oil and gas wells previously on the site.

Learning from the Irish

I loved this post by Architecture.mnp. What I find so attractive is the cliffs of Moher underground center. Granted, Oklahoma doesn't have a large supply of cliffs. However, with some soft burming and underground purpose I can see some Oklahoma architecture. Soddies at a new level.


I am reminded of Mount Auburn when I read Pruned's Cemeteries as Major Disaster Response Protocol. Mount Auburn was America's first pastoral or rural cemetery, and the cemetery moves from the city to the country. It also becomes a pleasure ground for the common people to pay tribute to memorials, have picnics and get away from the unpleasantness of the city. It actually was the forerunner of America's parks by Olmsted and Vaux. The likes of Central park and Prospect Park. I saw a picture of Polish women in a National Geographic or similar magazine gardening in family plots. It seemed strange, earthy and yet fitting. It seems that the Mid West has plenty of room to sprawl and bury the dead.

I am interested in the connections with the living. The memorial. The celebration. The morning. Community. Place. Cemeteries are interesting.

Among their core beliefs was an ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is only realized through the individuals intuition, rather than through the doctrines of established religions. This is one of those deep topics that I haven't studied out to well. However, I have an appreciation for some of the work that followed, like that of Louis Sullivan in the Getty Tomb. The Web of American Transcendentalism.
This is an interesting explanation

Moving along to what spurred this whole post. Look at The Igualada Levee and The Hanging Cemetery of Babylon posted by Pruned.

Then look at Box Cemetery close to where I live. I haven't made up my mind if I'm going to be buried in a Getty or a Box.

As usual, random thoughts.

In the news.

My natural resource teacher told us that this president was the first since T. Roosevelt to not add to our national park lands in some way. Of course there are a lot of ways for the president to protect lands. He was the first president to actually reduce our park lands. I haven't done my research on that, but I do believe it, and I know that the administration was working at reversing some of the public lands Clinton had preserved. ??? I can't understand that mentality at all.

So, I was very surprised to see $3 Billion proposed by for National Parks. I am glad to see the National Park Centennial Initiative kicked off. The National Parks system is a national treasure of Landscape Architecture, preservation, conservation and public enjoyment. I hope that the next century can see more preservation and more access by the common man. It is still amazingly cheap to visit a national park and I hope that it continues.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Saxon Park Photos

Here is a raw collection of pictures of the Saxon Park site.

I entered the site on the southwest corner from the neighbor's property (which I thought was city property.) I walked north along the west edge of the property until I got to the main creek bed that runs across the north edge of the property. I followed the creek bed east until I could see 36th street and then I followed the east edge of the property headed south about halfway to the down the property line to the access-road gate.

I had been on the property one other time and didn't think much of it. However, I have a very serious change of heart after this visit. I think it has the "capability" to be a magnificent park, and at this point I will leave it at that.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Dirt

If your not hooked into The Dirt--you should be.

The Dirt highlights Leave No Child Inside. (You never know where links are going to take you, check out The Orion Society.)

Don't forget how you get strangers interacting and talking to each other--babies, kids and dogs.

Kids also help us recover and reground after traumatic experiences. Life comes into focus with kids.

Urban Landscape

I follow Walking Turcot Yard's blog because of my fascination with the urban landscape. It is amazing the infrastructure we build that is of a disposable quality. When we are done with it we walk away from it. Much of our urban landscape is of little aesthetic value. Oklahoma has shed very little money on ornamentation or details that might embrace regional or cultural ideals.

However a feature of granaries, industrial equipment, water towers is very relevant to the urban landscape of Oklahoma. Because it is so flat, large scale industrial and city structures are very much a part of our urban landscape. I have run across Bernd and Hilla Becher's work previously and appreciate it.

Look at what Seattle did with Gas Works Park, New York with Fresh Kills and Germany with Landschaft Park. Oklahoma City has some industrial sites that they could capitalize on.

I'm going to have to get out there and take some pictures and do a follow up on this train of thought.

English Landscape School

I found an interesting portion of this history discussion relevant to Oklahoma. I think we can trace our obsession with the lawn to this school of thought, but it wasn't that lengthy discussion I found so interesting.

The farm and agrarian beauty was embraced in part of this movement. Oklahoma has some landscapes that I think we can identify with as beautiful. Just up from my house is a country road embraced and covered with pecans, cottonwood and black walnuts. As you walk through this enveloping canopy of branches and leaves the view opens up to a large pasture. Cattle graze and copse of elm, plum and persimmon provide homes for bluebirds and rabbits. Stands of cottonwood and willow line the stream beds. This could easily be a picture designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown.

I'm not sure that Oklahomans recognize the beauty that is before them. Embrace the farm and the agrarian community. Support it by shopping at your local farmers market. Buy local products. I shop at Crest Foods and I enjoy their local food selections. The Oklahoma Food Coop is another source of local foods.

Our landscape is shaped by a web of human activity. Our aesthetic values is shaped by a web of cultural influences.

Wind Power

OG and E is sold out of wind, "Due to overwhelming response to our wind power program, OG and E is currently sold out of wind power and has reached capacity on the waiting list. Therefore, we are not accepting wind power subscriptions at this time."

I was looking into changing my power over to wind power this morning and pulled up OG and E's "sold-out" note. That is good. That means there is a market that is interested in buying wind power.

Following the links on the site I found a colorful and interactive Oklahoma Wind Resource Map by OSU. To go along with that map is an interactive map covering wind, wildlife, untilled landscapes and protected areas. Both of these maps were by way of the OWPI or Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative website. "The OWPI investigates and promotes wind energy resources in our state."

If your interested in a community wind resource check out OWPI's Community Wind: a Guide book for Oklahoma.
Some interesting grabs from that document (click it for a better read).

It is difficult to sort out the energy sources and what is best for me and my family. I know that I am going to buy a new car in the next few years. I know eventually I will buy a new house. I ask myself frequently what am I doing now. What can I do now? What can I personally change to make difference? Are you thinking about alternative sources? Better sources? Sources that as OSN would put it address economy, ecology and equity.

I think "Clean" is a loaded word. What good is an energy source that doesn't pollute the Sky's but it pollutes the rivers? Or is destructive to habitat? What good is an energy source that reduces the quality of living of a community and lines the pockets of the few?

Complex problems usually require complex solutions.

Oklahoma Sustainability Network

Check out OSN's website. It looks like some great resources coming. I am on their list serve and they have a pretty good forum for keeping up with local environmental issues, or as they call them "economy, ecology, and equity."

OSN Conference coming up.

About OSN

Mission Statement: The Oklahoma Sustainability Network (OSN) serves to connect and educate the people of Oklahoma concerning the many aspects of sustainability. OSN is a catalyst and a resource for the improvement of Oklahoma's economy, ecology, and equity.

OSN's 6th Annual Conference

The 6th Annual OSN Conference, Ideas to Action: Envisioning the Next 100 Years in Oklahoma, will be held Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, 2007 at the National Weather Center in Norman.

Keynote speakers include:
  • Doug McKenzie-Mohr, author of Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing, who will also be leading an afternoon workshop on social marketing
  • Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, who will speak about redirecting farming away from corporate agriculture back to its traditional role in society

Monday, March 5, 2007

Global Warming

The Dirt on global warming,

AIA Archiblog getting closer to Godwin's Law

Where do you stand?


I'm always looking for inspiration.
Todd Stewart a local photographer and University professor has a great portfolio.

These two photos are from Landsessions:

I'm sure I have mentioned James Richer's blog, landsessions great landscape blog from across the pond. The two pictures are grabs from his blog, and the top one is of Miro Rivera Architects, Lake Austin, Texas.

Check out Andrew Houser's HD:Photos
It is not just the landscape a designer should be concerned with. It is the people and the experience of the landscape that is as important.

Daniel Hinkley

Daniel Hinkley is one of my hero's. I visited Heronswood on numerous occasions while living in Washington. It was always the most incredible of pleasures. The tours were always guided, and I always felt sorry for the person guiding the tour. They had to lay down their propagation tools and lead us laymen through the maze of exotic plants. It was an experience that changed how I perceive nurseries and plant propagation.

Heronswood was bought by Burpee or some other conglomerate and moved the nursery back East.

While visiting home this summer the plant salesperson's at various nurseries had been crushed by the loss of Heronswood. I am sure that it is sacrilegious to even link to the new site.

I was just looking at Mr. Hinkley's lecture schedule to see when he was coming to Oklahoma. Doesn't look like soon.


"OKC Second Time Around", a book with its own blog:

This is a book I have on my wish list.

Doug Dawgz does a review as does NewsOK

The life of a planting design

As a student I try to get a broad perspective and at the same time try to understand concepts at a closer level. We had a great lecture from James Yoch this week on Italian Renaissance gardens. In his lecture he mentioned that some of these Italian gardens were so low maintenance that it only took a few of gardeners one day a month to maintain them, and they were extremely long lived. While Gertrude Jekyll's gardens disappeared within months or short years after her death and maintenance was discontinued.

Is a garden only as good as its maintenance crew? What good is a garden that only the designer has the ability or know-how to maintain?

I don't necessarily believe we should strive towards zero maintenance gardens. Part of the joy of a garden is the actual care we give to the garden.

In my mind there is a balance. I want perennials and annuals, but I also want structure and longevity. I'm not afraid of the evolution of a garden or design, but my planting design should work now, 10 years, 30 years and 100 years, with normal garden modifications.

I think peoples attitudes change with time, so why not design a garden that can be reworked in 40 years? However, at the end of 40 years, there should be a magnificent framework of trees and shrubs and plantings to work with.

James Corner leaves some of his designs open ended. However, he designs the environmental aspects to mature and anticipate future changes.

I think we can recognize bad planting designs. They are very evident within a few years of planting. It is the great designs that still work and can be modified gracefully as they age and mature.

I run across this blog: check it out.