A former Topeka Capital-Journal outdoors columnist has been tapped to be the next director of the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita.
Marc Murrell, who wrote outdoors columns for The Capital-Journal for more than a decade, was selected by the GPNC Steering Committee to replace former director Jim Mason, who retired in December, as the fourth director in the center’s history. City naturalist and renowned wildlife photographer Bob Gress was the first, serving until his retirement in 2012. Lorrie Beck, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, took over until she retired in 2015, and Mason took over in her stead.
Murrell has been building manager for the facility since it opened in 1996, and he has worked for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism since 1989. He began with the agency as a public information officer at the southcentral regional office in Valley Center.
“I know I have big shoes to fill and have nothing but admiration for what Jim, Lorrie and Bob accomplished here,” Murrell said in a news release from the KDWPT. “My goals are to carry on this great tradition of providing quality nature education by working with our amazing partners and staff.”
Murrell, a native Topekan, holds a bachelor’s degree in fisheries from Kansas State University and worked as a biologist in North Carolina before moving back to Kansas. He began covering “The Great Outdoors” for The Capital-Journal on June 4, 2006, and his final column ran on Jan. 8, 2017.
The nature center is a collaborative effort between the USFWS, the KDWP and the city of Wichita’s parks and recreation department. It is located on the southeast corner of Chisholm Creek Park at 6232 E. 29th N. in Wichita.