Great Outdoors Day - John T. Nickel

Today we’re celebrating the Great Outdoors! It seems like right now is a good time to spend plenty of time outside with our families. Spring is starting and the weather is getting warmer. It’s time to enjoy each other while exploring nature!

Today’s theme is inspired by Oklahoma Hall of Fame Member John T. Nickel. His hometown is Muskogee, Oklahoma. Mr. Nickel is the founder of Greenleaf Nursery Wholesale. He has always enjoyed the outdoors. In fact, nature is so important to Mr. Nickel, that he donated 14,000 acres to The Nature Conservancy to ensure the land would remain pristine and undeveloped. Nestled in the rolling Cookson Hills and overlooking the Illinois River, the J. T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve is the largest privately protected conservation area in the Ozarks and was officially dedicated in 2000. You can learn more by reading John T. Nickel’s Oklahoma Hall of Fame biography.

Nature is precious to many Oklahomans. In fact, Oklahoma Hall of Fame Member William H. Crawford also established a protected natural area, the Huckberry Flat Wetland Project, in Tillman County.

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Movie Time! You can take a virtual field trip, with photos and videos, of several Oklahoma Preserves, including the J.T. Nickel Preserve, with the Nature Conservancy. If you’re looking for a great movie to capture the excitement of exploring the wilderness with your family, check out The Wild Thornberrys movie, available to rent and stream from Amazon Prime.

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Storytime! One of our favorite books about spending time outdoors is Into the Outdoors by Susan Gal. You can also check out this video for a fun sing-along story about Outdoor Opposites. Also, don’t miss out on the fun of storytime around the campfire! Tell your family this Iriquois story from while you’re pointing out the constellation of the Big Dipper! Learn more about constellations at NASA’s Space Place.

Arts & Crafts! Creating crafts that connect us to the outdoors is a great way to spend time together. Why don’t you try making Cheerio bird feeders together (all you need is Cheerios cereal and chenille stems) or you could do crayon leaf rubbings (making sure to point out leaves, like poison ivy, that shouldn’t be touched).

Make & Eat it! Eating outdoors is fun! You can pack a picnic or create S’mores over a campfire! If you’re making S’mores for a crowd, try these Grilled Sheet Pan S’mores from Oklahoma Hall of Fame Member Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman! (You can stick them in the oven if “camping” indoors; bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.)

Story time with the Keatings!

Looking for a special story time? Enjoy a reading of today's book, Into the Outdoors, read by Oklahoma Hall of Fame Members Cathy and Frank Keating!

Keep learning more of Oklahoma’s Story! We hope that you have a fun time at home creating your own Great Outdoors day! As always, there’s more to this Oklahoma story, come back tomorrow and we’ll have more for you to explore! Please post pictures of your Going Green day and share them with us: #ohofathome

We'd love to see the art you make! Share with us by emailing your name and a picture of your project to We can't wait to see your awesome crafts!

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