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Land Donated to Conservation District Will Become Nature Sanctuary

Land Donated to Conservation District Will Become Nature Sanctuary

Bonnie Geer presents the deed to the land to the Muskogee County Conservation District. From left to Right; Ken Silver-MCCD Director, Bonnie Geer-Donor, Andy Qualls-MCCD Tech., Butch Garner-MCCD Director, Trish Kloeckler-MCCD District Secretary.
Bonnie Geer presents the deed to the land to the Muskogee County Conservation District. From left to Right; Ken Silver-MCCD Director, Bonnie Geer-Donor, Andy Qualls-MCCD Tech., Butch Garner-MCCD Director, Trish Kloeckler-MCCD District Secretary.


Bonnie Geer and Muskogee County Conservation District Technician Andy Qualls plant oak trees on the property.

The Muskogee County Conservation District (MCCD) will soon be opening “The Bonnie & Richard Geer Nature Sanctuary” thanks to a generous donation.

On March 14, Bonnie Geer, of Tulsa, donated 152 acres of land to the MCCD to be used as a nature, wildlife and bird sanctuary. Ms. Geer said that it had always been a dream of her late husband Richard to turn the land into a nature habitat. Mr. Geer passed away March 14, 2007 with complications from cancer.

The site, located west of Muskogee at the intersection of Highway 62 and 162, will be operated and maintained by the MCCD.

“We are so thankful and appreciative of Ms. Geer for this contribution that will preserve a small piece of natural history for future generations,” says Andy Qualls, a technician with the MCCD.

Qualls says they have already started quite a bit of conservation work and natural beautification projects, but it will take several years before the land is completely restored to native conditions.

“Someday it will be a diamond in the crown of Muskogee County,” he says.

The District has worked in close partnership with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Geer to develop a conservation plan for the property, with the goal of wildlife habit restoration and enhancement.

“Current plans include re-establishment of native grasses and flowers including many tallgrass prairie plants, planting native trees and food and habitat sources for birds and wildlife,” says Danielle Whaley, NRCS district conservationist in Muskogee.

The area will be made available to area schools and nature/conservation organizations for outdoor classrooms and other conservation and nature related activities. There are plans to remodel a barn on the property to include a classroom and bathroom facilities. The District is pursuing grants and other funding opportunities to help fund the conservation work being done, as well as develop facilities to fulfill the purpose and enjoyment the property can offer.

“The goal is to use this beautiful site for outdoor education purposes,” Whaley says. “It is a unique opportunity for school classes, 4-H clubs and special interests groups to have some hands-on experiences with the land and wildlife.”

Several groups have expressed interest in land judging competitions, bird watching, walking nature trails, range planting, soil judging and more.

Classes or groups interested in using the facility for nature/natural resource/conservation educational purposes or that would like to be involved in the restoration of the area to a more native state, should contact the NRCS office or the MCCD, located at 3001 Azalea Park Drive in Muskogee. They can also be reached by phone at 918-687-3478.

By Dee Ann Littlefield, public affairs specialist, Waurika, OK
NRCS April 2008

Last Modified: 04/15/2008

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