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City Announces New GPNC Director

Contact: Troy Houtman, Park & Recreation Director |

The City of Wichita announced today the promotion of Jim Mason as the Director of Great Plains Nature Center (GPNC), effective Friday, Dec. 19. Mason replaces Lorrie Beck who is retiring after two years in the post.

Mason, a Wichita native, earned a bachelor’s in science degree in biology in 1975 from the University of Kansas. He has worked for Wichita’s Park & Recreation Department since 1978. He began working as a Naturalist with the Wichita Wild program in 1988.

Jim is the author of two local history books, published by Arcadia Publications: “Wichita’s Riverside Parks” in the “Images of America” series and “Wichita” in the “Postcard History” series. He is co-author of the Great Plains Nature Center “Pocket Guide to Kansas Freshwater Mussels” and author of the GPNC “Pocket Guide to Common Kansas Butterflies.” He has written articles for the Kansas Sportsman and the Kansas Wildflower Society newsletter.

GPNC, located at 6232 E. 29th Street North, is a partnership between the City, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the United States Fish & Wildlife Serviced. It provides programs, tours and other opportunities for residents to learn about natural resources, especially the wildlife and plant species inhabiting the Great Plains region. Mason will oversee seven staffers in addition to volunteers.

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