By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Recreation Division of the Oklahoma Parks & Recreation Department provides recreation and education programs at parks, athletic fields and community centers across the state. Youth and adult fitness, after-school programs, senior activities and performing arts are a few of the diverse programs offered at recreation facilities.
A special free lecture and photography exhibition featuring professional wildlife photographer Tom Ulrich will be held Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Will Rogers Senior Center, 3501 Pat Murphy Dr. An author and freelance photographer since 1975, Ulrich is highly acclaimed around the world for his nature photography skills.
“I’m going to project several hundred photos and marry photo technique and animal behavior from photos I took in 2013 showing bird migration of South Texas, Florida wildlife and especially Glacier Park where I live,” said Ulrich. The 70-minute program on Friday is open to the public and is for all ages.
“Sometimes I look to see what kind of crowd I have and I show these new pieces with music put to them. I’m flexible.”
On Saturday, April 5, from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Ulrich will lead a photography workshop at the Will Rogers Senior Center.
“The workshop is a half a day on digital photography for beginners to more advanced,” Ulrich said. “I talk about how to do macro photography detail, histograms, composition, white balance and digital workflow.”
Class size is limited to 45 participants. Cost is $50 per person. Register in advance at okc.gov/active.
Both events are presented by the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department’s Martin Park Nature Center. Sign language interpreters will be available at the events.
Other scheduled Parks and Recreation programs include an intense results-driven fitness program called “Insanity!” It is offered each Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Foster Program Center, 614 N.E. 4 St.
This certified instructor-led total body conditioning program is designed to get participants in top shape. Modifications can be made for any fitness level. The program will help to burn calories, increase muscle tone and improve cardio performance. Cost is $5 per class.
On Saturday, March 15 at 3 p.m. Venomous Snakes will be featured at Martin Park Nature Center, 5000 W. Memorial Rd. Come learn how to identify common venomous snakes and discover why they are so valuable to the ecosystem. This is a free event. Register in advance at okc.gov/active.
The “Spring Sing!” Performing Arts Day Camp is from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 17-21 at the N.W. Optimist Performing Arts Community Center, 3301 N.W. Grand Blvd. It will provide spring break campers, ages 6 to 16, the opportunity to learn song and dance routines, which they’ll perform at the end-of-camp revue for family and friends at 5:30 p.m. March 21.
Cost for the Day Camp is $90 per participant. School immunization records are required. Snacks will be provided but campers need to bring a lunch. Call 405-841-2412 for details.
Nine community recreation centers will offer sports, crafts and other fun activities for children ages 6 to 14 years old during the Spring Break Recreation Day Camps, which run 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 17-21. Cost is $25 per participant. Participants will also need to provide school immunization records for these camps. Lunch and a snack will be provided by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Call 405-297-2211 for more information.
On Saturday, March 22 there will be a St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt at the Martin Park Nature Center, 5000 West Memorial Road beginning at 3 p.m. During this family-friendly adventure participants will search for natural treasure in the woods of Martin Park. This event is free. Advance registration is required.
At Martin Park on Saturday, March 29, from 9:15 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. there will be a free day long Wetlands Workshop on the importance of wetlands in Oklahoma, as well as the flora and fauna which inhabit them. There will also be a discussion about how to become a Master Naturalist. Bring a dish for the potluck lunch. Register in advance at okc.gov/active.
For more information contact the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department at 405-297-3882 or visit okc.gov/parks.