Ten GEAR UP students from Pittsburg High School recently traveled to Tulsa, OK, to tour the Gathering Place. Park docent Bob Rayno greeted the students and briefly explained the park and its mission.
The tour began in Williams Lodge, where students learned the history and construction of the park, which opened in 2018. The George Kaiser Family Foundation saw the need for Tulsans to have a welcoming, natural space where the community could explore and learn: a place for everyone. Rayno discussed using raw materials found in Oklahoma to build the park, such as the large stones shipped in from McCurtain and LeFlore Counties. He encouraged the students to explore the architecture and nature of the park.
The tour concluded with self-guided explorations through exhibits, including STEM activities in the Ramble Sensory Garden, physical education in Chapman Adventure Playground, and studying the architectural space of the ONEOK Boathouse.
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017 and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.