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Guidelines for taking students to Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

Since 1990, Redbud Valley Nature Preserve, located on 161st E. Ave. in Rogers County, has been managed by Oxley Nature Center in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy. We ask your help in protecting the unique beauty and ecological value of the Preserve. 

Before your fieldtrip:

1. First, set some educational objectives. After you outline your fieldtrips goals, you may decide that Oxley Nature Center would be a better place for your class to visit. Fieldtrips involving general nature study, in groups larger than 25, or with students younger than 6th grade would be more appropriate for Oxley Nature Center. At Redbud Valley, preservation of the unusual and fragile ecology of the site is the primary management consideration; Education and study come second; Recreational use ranks third in priority.

Please consider the following:

bulletRedbud Valley's single one-mile trail is very rugged and steep in places. (At Oxley Nature Center, the many trails are fairly level, and offer a choice of routes. There are miles of trails accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. If a "wilder," more remote location is desired, Oxley Nature Center's North Woods Unit northeast of Lake Yahola has more than two miles of trails through mature, flood-plain forest.)
bulletRedbud Valley's single, one-mile trail is narrow, and in places is closely bordered by poison ivy, cactus, nettles, and other prickly or stinging plants. (Although you may find poison ivy or nettle at Oxley Nature Center, the trails are wider and generally smoother than Redbud Valley's rocky path.)
bulletVenomous animals, including bees, wasps, spiders, scorpions, eastern giant centipedes, copperheads and several species of rattlesnakes, may be found at Redbud Valley. (At Oxley Nature Center, there are bees, wasps and spiders. Both of the spiders considered dangerous to humans - black widows and fiddlebacks - are more common at Redbud Valley.)
bulletGoing off the trail is strictly prohibited at Redbud Valley. (At Oxley Nature Center, the soil is deeper and more stable; you can go off the trail almost anywhere.)
bulletCollecting specimens of any kind is prohibited at Redbud Valley. (If arrangements are made in advance, some collecting may be done at Oxley Nature Center.)

These factors should not deter you from a fieldtrip to Redbud Valley, but you should include them in your planning. 

2. Please call ahead (918-596-9054) to schedule your visit. Your students will have a better fieldtrip if they don't have to share the limited facilities with too many other schools. Also, our staff is available to visit briefly with your students and reinforce the safety rules before you set out. 

3. If you have more than 25 in your group, we suggest that you bring them on two or more dates. Facilities include one Porta-John and three picnic tables. The small gravel parking lot can hold several school buses or about 20 cars. Visitors' cars may make it difficult to maneuver even one bus into the parking lot. It is not safe or legal to park along the county road outside the preserve's gates. In the event of dangerous weather, the small visitor's center can hold about 30 people. 

4. Plan to visit during the regular hours, Wed.-Sun., 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Redbud Valley's management policy involves giving it some time off each day, and two days rest after the weekend. 

5. Recruit enough adult leaders to allow small trail groups. We recommend 10 or fewer students and 2 adults per group Our staff cannot provide any leaders for your fieldtrip.

6. Hold a planning session with all of your adult leaders, at Redbud Valley, if possible. Our staff will be pleased to conduct an orientation session for your leaders; please call ahead to arrange a date and time.