NatureHawks unites students and nature
TNE Editor

NatureHawks unites students and nature

Published 2/20/2018

Tabby Talbot

TNE Writer

The Illinois River is a major draw to the Tahlequah community. Tourists will travel to float down the river and camp. The vast experiences Tahlequah’s surrounding nature has to offer is why NatureHawks was formed.

NatureHawks is a student-led organization on the NSU Tahlequah campus. Alex Mcbride, NatureHawks president, started this group to help other students like himself find their niche in their new surroundings after moving to college.

“Finding a group of people with similar interests as you helps you to enjoy the college experience more,” said Mcbride. “Another important aspect is for conservation. We want to help conserve the places people are able to go hiking, hammocking, biking, swimming, fishing and hunting. I want NSU students to experience the same view of the Illinois River at Sparrow Hawk that I have been able to experience.”

The group meets to discuss and inform each other about places to hike in and near Tahlequah.

“We don’t stop at just a meeting,” said Garrett Cochran, NatureHawks vice president. “Often we hike together or find ourselves hammocking at the river or even camping on the weekend.”

Mcbride said he believes people undervalue how much outdoor recreation brings to an economy. According to the Outdoor Industry Association in their outdoor recreation economy report, consumers annually spend $887 billion on outdoor recreation.

“There is a hiking and mountain biking trail system that is being considered for building in Tahlequah, and it would bring economic growth to Tahlequah that would be beneficial,” said Mcbride. “We are wanting to help build trails if the city approves of the biking and hiking trails.”

Cochran said his passion for nature is because so many people use it as a chance to get away for a moment and recharge themselves.

“One of my favorite memories in nature was last year at Sparrow Hawk,” said Cochran. “We went on a night hike and the fog was so thick that when we got to the edge of the cliff we couldn’t tell where the sky ended and earth began. It was like staring into a blank screen, not being able to judge the depth of anything but knowing you were suspended hundreds of feet off the ground. It was awesome.”

NatureHawks recently partnered with the Tahlequah Hiking Group and attends monthly trips with them, as well as plans their own trips and group hammocking days.

Sarah Ferrell, NatureHawks merchandise chair, said there are no fees to become a member. The only money needed will be to buy personal equipment, hiking gear or any merchandise the group is selling.

Students may become members of NatureHawks by visiting the HawkLife page and requesting membership. Once membership is approved, a member of the group will follow up with more information.

Meetings are conducted once a month on Thursdays.

For more information about NatureHawks, visit the NatureHawks HawkLife page.

For more information about the biking and hiking trails being considered for building, follow the Tahlequah Trails Facebook page.

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