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.