27 November 2008

Become A Friend of Honor Heights Park

Honor Heights Park is one of Muskogee's primary attractions for area residents and tourists. The bird sanctuary, arboretum, cookout pavilions, picnic areas, lighted tennis courts, playground, splash pad, lake and paddleboats bring thousands to the park every year.

In the spring, the Azalea Festival starts the season. Then, Symphony in the Park highlights the summer and the Garden of Lights ends the park’s busy season.

A new project on the drawing board for the park will be an update and provide an additional attraction. The back wall of the former bathhouse has already been remodeled to accommodate a Teaching Garden, Nature Education Center and Butterfly House.

For the last two years, a small group of citizens has been visiting similar attractions in surrounding cities from St. Louis to Dallas. Muskogee's version will be smaller, less expensive to build and will require less funding to operate.

At the same time, Mark Wilkerson, Director of Parks and Recreation has pointed out that some existing features of Honor Heights Park need to be improved. The waterfall needs repair work, ice storm damaged plantings should be replaced and playground equipment should be updated.

To address the new gardens and Butterfly House as well as to build a community of people who want to help improve and maintain the park, a non-profit organization was formed, Friends of Honor Heights Park.

Friends of Honor Heights Park is a registered 501c3 organization so contributions are tax deductible. A board will be formed to make decisions about how funds will be used.

Initially, the fund raising is focused on building the Teaching Gardens and Butterfly House as well as purchasing plants and butterflies to make the experience of learning about nature as exciting as possible.

The existing building is going to become a nature education center with rooms that can be used for classes, garden club meetings, etc.

The architect’s plans for the new fence-enclosed garden space show plenty of concrete surfaces with walkways to provide an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages. The area will be rented for weddings and events.

The benefits of membership in Friends of Honor Heights Park include: Free admission to the first year of the Gardens and Butterfly House operation; An email newsletter of announcing upcoming events and classes; Discounts on classes (gardening, butterflies, birding, conservation, etc.); An annual members-only event.

Oklahoma is home to hundreds of species of native butterflies, skippers and moths. Creating a habitat for butterfly caterpillars and adult butterflies preserves the plant, animal and bird diversity of the state.

The Butterfly House will have captive butterflies in an indoor garden where groups, children, visitors and students of nature will be able to enjoy watching them.

All funds collected through Friends will be used to support new projects and to continue the beautification of Honor Heights Park.

Become a Friend of Honor Heights Park. Send your name, mailing address, email address, telephone number and check to Friends of Honor Heights Park, 4211 High Oaks, Muskogee OK 74401.

Basic Membership costs $25 for an individual and $35 for a family (two adults and their children). Larger contributions can be made to the organization and naming rights are available for some features such as the education center, butterfly house, etc.

To receive a membership form by email, contact me at MollyDay1@gmail.com or information@muskogeeparks.org.

I also have the designer's plan available to send out via email upon request.

For more information, call Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department, 918-684-6302.

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