Archive for ‘News & Announcements’

January 29, 2014

Scottish Rite Temple is Site of 2014 NAI Region VI Workshop

Guthrie Masonic Temple

The National Association for Interpretation Region VI Workshop will be held in Guthrie, Oklahoma on February 24-26, 2014.

The Temple of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry will be the primary venue.

I traveled to Guthrie with other members of the planning committee on Monday to iron out some final details.  The temple is an incredible building.  If you don’t join me at the NAI convention, be sure to take a tour of the Temple the next time you find yourself in Guthrie.  You’ll be glad you did!  (Until then, you can take a 360° visual tour online!)

One of the rooms in the temple. The others are just as grand!

One of the rooms in the temple. All the others are just as grand!

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December 10, 2013

Winter White: Snowfall and Swans at Osage Hills State Park

A deer passes Cabin Zero in the falling snow.

A second round of snow fell at Osage Hills State Park yesterday.  Three inches had fallen by the time it stopped late last night.  Adding to the white were five trumpeter swans that alighted on Lookout Lake yesterday shortly after noon.  Hopefully the swans will remain longer than the snow.

A deer in the snow pauses to watch me pass.

April 20, 2013

Now ‘Blue’ming at Osage Hills…

Blue Ribbon Child Abuse Awareness tree

…A Blue Ribbon Child Abuse Awareness tree! April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and to serve as a reminder that we can all make a difference in the life of a child, we have tied ribbons on our tree to represent the 260 children in Osage and Washington Counties who were substantiated to be victims of child abuse and neglect in 2012. I tied on a few extra ribbons to compensate for losses due to high winds, but it is an unfortunate truth that many cases of abuse and neglect are never reported, and our ribbon numbers may still be low.

This weekend’s weather has turned out beautiful. Come see our Blue Ribbon Tree and stick around for a hike or picnic!

Blue Ribbon Trees will be blossoming throughout Oklahoma communities in April. Follow this link for more information about creating a Blue Ribbon Tree. Or visit the Oklahoma Department of Health website. For more information on child abuse by county/age/perpetrator/etc, check out this link to the 2012 report produced by the Office of Planning, Research, and Statistics and Child Welfare Services.

The boom lift used to place the ribbons in the tree was provided by United Rentals in Bartlesville.
January 14, 2013

Lookout Lake Receives Mention In Recent Wildlife Department Press Release

ODWC Technicians prepare to make fish habitat

Last August, the Wildlife Department tied masses of Eastern redcedar to cinder blocks and sunk them at several points in Lookout Lake to create new fish habitat.  The cinder blocks anchor the redcedars until they become waterlogged.  As the trees settle into place, fish begin using them as protective cover.  Lookout Lake has always been a favorite destination for local crappie fishermen, so these new shelters are sure to make for even happier anglers.

Wildlife Department personnel improve fish habitat in state lakes (January 3, 2013)

The cold days of winter may lead to some hot fishing for crappie at many Oklahoma lakes this year, thanks to habitat improvement efforts by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Fisheries Division.

Cliff Sager, chairman of the Department’s Fish Habitat Committee and south central region fisheries biologist, said the Department manages fish attractor sites in more than 100 lakes throughout Oklahoma.

“The goal of this program is to improve angling success by creating man-made fish shelters for anglers to use,” Sager said. “When water temperatures drop, crappie tend to be less active and hold tight to the brush. Wintertime crappie fishing can be hot around standing timber and sunken brush piles.”

Fish tend to gather around the attractors during colder weather, and by fishing near these attractors, anglers are likely to improve their odds of success.

Sager said the Department constructs and refurbishes underwater fish attractors using various materials including trees, rocks, pallets, plastics or a combination of items. The Eastern red cedar tree, an invasive species in Oklahoma, is generally unwanted by landowners and is readily available. It is common for Department personnel to cut down these trees and use them at fish attractor sites.

The Department also uses artificial bush-like structures called spider blocks as fish attractors. Spider blocks are concrete blocks with eight to 10 black polyethylene pipes arrayed upward from the top, which makes them resemble a spider.

“These structures hold fish, don’t break down over time, and are virtually impossible to get a lure stuck on,” Sager said. For those reasons, spider blocks generally hold favor with fishermen and biologists alike.

During 2012, personnel with the Department’s Fisheries Division rebuilt or added underwater fish attractors in several state lakes:

[…]

Lookout Lake (North Central Region): Cedar tree brush piles were placed in three locations in this 20-acre lake in Osage Hills State Park.

You can read the full list of other new fish attractant locations on the original press release.

ODWC Technicians prepare to make fish habitat

January 12, 2013

Swan Update

Swans on Farm Pond in NE Oklahoma

***Feel free to call the park office to ask if the swans have returned before you make a dedicated trip to see them.***

A survey of Lookout Lake Friday morning revealed that the swans had finally departed after a four-day stay.

However, I received word on Friday afternoon that immature swans had been seen on a pond within a few miles of the park.  I didn’t verify the report, but I assume these are the ones that had recently graced our lake…    Maybe they’ll return?

The photo above was taken in November of 2010 near the settlement of Bowring, located about ten miles north of Osage Hills State Park.  Across the road from this pond is one of similar size where several years before a number of swans were slaughtered.  Someone drove by, spotted the large birds, grabbed a gun, shot every last one dead, and left the carcasses to rot.  (Also nearby, during a different winter, a crowd of well-meaning bird watchers harassed a snowy owl to death.)

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      In autumn when the grip of the frost congealed the surface of its native lakes and streams the Trumpeter gathered in mighty flocks, circled high in air and moved southward in great flights using the V-shaped formation so characteristic of migrating Canada Geese.  This is written in the past tense as there are no longer any great flights of the species.  Then, as now, the Mississippi valley was a highway of bird migration and there, at times, in autumn, when the icy north wind blew, the sunset sky was overcast by clouds of waterfowl moving in dim strata near and far, in varying lines, crossing, converging, ascending, descending, but all trending southward toward waters as yet untouched by the frost.  The rushing of their wings and their musical cries filled the air with a chorus of unrelated sounds, blending in rough harmonies.  Above them all, in the full light of the setting sun great flocks of Cranes passed along the sky, and higher still in the glowing firmament rode the long “baseless triangles ” of the Swans, sweeping across the upper air in exalted and unswerving flight, spanning a continent with the speed of the wind, their forms glistening like silver in the sunset glow.  They presented the most impressive spectacle in bird life ever seen in North America.  When at last they found their haven of rest they circled with many hoarse trumpetings in wide spirals from that giddy height reconnoitering the country as they swung lower and lower until, their apprehensions at rest, they sailed slowly down to drink, bathe, feed, and rest on quiet, peaceful waters.

     The reason for the rapid decrease of the Trumpeter is not far to seek.  It is the largest and most conspicuous of waterfowl.  Wherever, in settled regions, Swans were seen to alight, every kind of a firearm that could do duty was requisitioned and all men turned out to hunt the great white birds.  They were not much safer in the almost uninhabited North, as the demands of civilization pursued them there.  The records of the traffic in Swans’ down tell the story of  decrease in the territory of the Hudson Bay Company.  Just previous to the middle of the nineteenth century about five hundred Swans’ skins were traded annually at Isle à la Crosse and about three hundred were taken yearly at Fort Anderson.  These were mainly skins of the Trumpeter Swan.  The number sold annually by the Company slowly decreased from 1312 in 1854 to 122 in 1877.  In 1853 Athabasca turned out 251, in 1889 only 33.  In 1889 and 1890 Isle à la Crosse sent out but two skins for each outfit.

So the demands of fashion and the blood lust will follow the Trumpeter to the end.

EDWARD HOWE FORBUSH, 1917

Thank goodness he was wrong, if ever so slightly!