Connecting people to nature

The River Bend Nature Center is fulfilling its mission of creating greater awareness and appreciation for the environment by connecting people to nature.

Located at 2200 3rd St., the center was approved in 1990-1991 by the Junior League of Wichita Falls after a proposal from Jack Murphy, Parks Director for the City of Wichita Falls.

From 1992 to 1995, a community steering committee worked tirelessly to develop the plan for a nature center to be constructed in Lucy Park.

The members conducted a regional needs assessment and planned for a nature center with an indoor facility and outdoor pavilion, gearing the center to become a role model for resource conservation.

For more than 20 years now, that’s exactly what River Bend has done, with something for everyone to enjoy.

“Education is our focus. Educating kids to foster a deep awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of the natural environment,” said River Bend Executive Director Liz Martin.

However, River Bend is important to everyone, not just kids, serving more than 40,000 visitors a year, with 45 percent of visitors coming from outside Wichita Falls. RBNC has earned the distinction as a top tourist attraction with TripAdvisor and AAA. It also was awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate for Excellence for superior service in 2016 and 2017.

I can understand why as I followed Exhibits Curator Jennica Lambert as she led me through the winding trail of the bottom land forest and wetlands.

You could see the passion for nature oozing out of her as she discussed the many programs offered by River Bend. The passion she has for nature, the guidance of Martin and the work of the many volunteers bring an extra spark to River Bend that makes it a must see, top notch attraction.

“People don’t care about what they don’t know about, we educate them on why they should care about the world around them. There are things they can do right in their own backyard, like recycle and reuse items and grow food,” explained Lambert.

To read the full article, pick up our March/April 2018 issue of LiveIt.