Long-Time Nature Center Director Retires

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Friday, September 14, 2012

He has been a fixture and educator on nature in Wichita for more than three decades. Great Plains Nature Center Director Bob Gress has decided to retire after years of teaching nature lovers about Kansas wildlife.

On Friday, Gress entered his office on his last day of work to find it covered in 2,700 post-it notes. Those notes captured the well wishes of some of the thousands of people Gress has instructed and the affection of those whom he touched during his long career.

"This has been a huge part of my life and it's going to be a little hard to leave it behind. And yet there's lots of good places to go," said Gress.

Gress is a Kansas native and grew up in Axtell in Marshall County. He was hired as a naturalist in the city of Wichita's Park Department in 1979. Since then, Gress says he's spoken to approximately 6,000 groups of visitors.

Gress and his wife Mary say they are looking forward to many new discoveries. Though he's stepping down from the job, Gress says he'll continue pursuing his passion for discovering the wonders of nature.

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