Oklahoma City’s Martin Nature Park recently received a facelift as city, state, nonprofit and private industry teamed up to celebrate the Great American Cleanup, during Oklahoma’s Arbor Week.
Keep America Beautiful state affiliate Keep Oklahoma Beautiful and local affiliate OKC Beautiful, as well as the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, P&K Equipment, Warren CAT and Oklahoma Forestry Services worked together, along with about 30 volunteers on March 24-25 to enhance the park’s natural areas.
“It is exciting when organizations can work together and really make a significant impact on a park that so many people enjoy,” said George Geissler, State Forester and director of Oklahoma Forestry Services. “None of us could have accomplished so much in such a short time working alone. This project really embraces the spirit of the Great American Cleanup and Arbor Week.”
Each organization contributed their unique expertise and equipment. Foresters from Oklahoma Forestry Services assessed the 2.5 miles of public trails for any trees that have health and safety risks to the public, followed by an Oklahoma City Parks Forestry crew mitigating those potential risks by cutting down dead trees and trimming branches. Volunteers prepared planting sites and helped to plant 400 tree seedlings provided by Oklahoma Forestry Services. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation provided protective tree shelters for the seedlings and an additional 13 large specimen trees that were planted in highly utilized key areas of the park.
Additionally, volunteers spread 60 cubic yards of mulch donated by Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority and Minick Materials around the park’s playground to help prevent soil erosion, while Warren CAT employees helped by spreading mulch with their skid steers and mulching tree limbs with their masticator tool. P&K Equipment helped move mulch and provided utility vehicles to move people, mulch and equipment around the park. Premier Truck Group of Oklahoma City provided lunch for everyone who worked on the project.
“Partnering with such great organizations and agencies was so awesome! To come together as we did to change the face of such a wonderful 40-year-old OKC gem was priceless,” said Jeanette Nance, executive director, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful. “So many people worked so hard to make this tree planting and refurbishing happen during Arbor Week! Those of us at Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, staff and board alike, were happy to be hands-on for this amazing project.”
Martin Nature Park, located at 5000 West Memorial Road in Oklahoma City, is a hub for nature exploration and education for visitors of all ages, offering guided hikes, education programs and an interactive learning center that provides visitors a place to learn about nature and wildlife in a serene, suburban environment. For more information about the park, visit its website at https://okc.gov/departments/parks-recreation/martin-park-nature-center.