The Norman Transcript

July 22, 2013

Park naturalist leads ‘tree walk’ at Lake Thunderbird

By Arianna Pickard
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Individuals of various ages went on a “tree walk” at Lake Thunderbird Saturday to learn about various kinds of trees that grow in the area and what they’re good for.

Kathy Furneaux, park naturalist at the Lake Thunderbird Discovery Cove Nature Center, led the group outside the nature center to observe and identify trees in the area.

“Having a tree day to kind of connect with trees on all sorts of levels is a useful thing for kids and people of any age, because people of any age can be kind of ‘nature deficient,’” Furneaux said.

Growing up seeing forests cleared and rainforests receding, individuals of all ages need to be reminded of why trees are important, Furneaux said.

“One of the talks today is called ‘what are trees good for,’” she said. “There are a lot of things when you start thinking about it. One of the things that ought to be high up on anybody’s list is that they take carbon dioxide out of the air and put oxygen back in. We need that.”

Furneaux identified various trees around the nature center and described how each was different from the other. The group observed a rusty blackhaw, blackjack oak, black hickory and several others.

“We’re in a really bad bind without the trees,” she said. “It’s important for kids to know that kind of thing and other ways the whole ecosystem depends on them.”

This weekend is the last of Furneaux’s summer nature learning events. The theme is “Bug Weekend” and will include activities lasting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

At 3 p.m. Saturday Furneaux will lead children in shoreline seining, which involves catching and identifying small aquatic wildlife from the lake in a 12-foot net.

The nature center is open seven days a week until the end of the summer, with Furneaux and her summer intern available to answer any nature questions.

Those interested in visiting the nature center can walk in or schedule a group lesson by calling 405-321-4633 or emailing Kathy Furneaux at crowssecret@sbcglobal.net.