SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Although Rudy Martinez is the new manager of the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, “new” is hardly a word that describes his relationship with this popular Missouri Department of Conservation facility.
For two decades, Martinez has been a familiar face to patrons of this much-visited site in southeast Springfield. When he was named Nature Center manager earlier this month, it capped a career climb that began in 1998 when Martinez became a volunteer at the facility. In the subsequent years, he has been a naturalist at the Nature Center and, for the past 13 years, assistant manager.
“I have always found my work here very rewarding,” Martinez said. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with a group of talented staff and volunteers to advance conservation. I also look forward to building strong partnerships with the community and to continue to meet and introduce people to what nature has to offer.” Martinez replaces Linda Chorice, who retired earlier this year.
Martinez, a native of Holgate, Ohio and a graduate of the University of Florida, is the third person to manage the Nature Center since the facility opened in 1988.
Located at 4601 South Nature Center Way, the 79-acre Nature Center in Springfield has become a popular destination in its three decades of existence. More than 250,000 people visit the facility and/or walk the site’s three-mile trail system each year.
“The Nature Center has always been a special place to many people who visit here and to those that work and volunteer here,” Martinez said. “The common thread that brings citizens, staff and volunteers all together is our interest in nature and how we care and value it. The Nature Center will continue to be a special place for people to explore and make new discoveries.”
For more information about the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, including upcoming events and programs, visit mdc.mo.gov.