CU student creates tree tour for Museum of the Great Plains

Cameron University student Mona Bevington has created a tree tour for the Museum of the Great Plains (MGP) as a class project. The tree tour will be unveiled by Bevington, a junior Biology Education major from Altus, and John Hernandez, MGP Director, on Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public. The tour incorporates 20 different species of trees, each selected for their ethnobotanical, economic and/or aesthetic value.

“The Tree Tour will add another educational component and give our visitors a better understanding of the variety of Native trees that grow in the state of Oklahoma,” says John Hernandez, Director, Museum of the Great Plains. “The Tree Tour will also lead to new educational programs for Lawton and rural school children.”

Bevington proposed the tree tour to the museum earlier this year. Once museum personnel agreed to the project, she identified the trees on the museum’s property. Bevington also secured a $500 grant from the Lawton Enhancement Trust Authority to defray the cost of purchasing and planting six additional trees.

“I enjoyed learning about how each species of tree was originally used by the Native Americans and early settlers,” Bevington says. “There are a lot of stories about how the trees were incorporated into everyday life – including using bark or leaves for tea, using berries for soaps and medicinal purposes, and using fruit to repel insects. There are fascinating uses, and we need to be reminded of them.”

Bevington hopes the tree tour will be enjoyed by visitors to the Museum, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout the year.

Cameron University and the Museum of the Great Plains have partnered to make the tree tour possible. Cameron will provide brochures for the museum to distribute, and the museum is providing individual markers for each tree.

Bevington is a nurse who wants to become a schoolteacher.

“I’ve always had an interest in teaching,” she says. “I home-schooled my daughter for two years and was able to witness her ‘a-ha’ moments when she grasped the concepts of the lessons. That was exciting to me, and I want to continue that by teaching fulltime.”



April 25, 2011

PR# 11-095