LAWRENCE –The Kansas Wildscape Foundation recently announced the appointment of Marc Murrell as the organization’s new executive director. Murrell began work on March 8, replacing Charlie Black, who served in that position for the last 12 years. Black resigned to take a position in Grand Rapids, Minnesota earlier this year.
“We wish Charlie all the best in his new position,” said Britt King, chairman of the Kansas Wildscape Foundation’s board of directors. “And we look forward to a new chapter of development with Marc to move the Kansas Wildscape Foundation forward.”
Murrell, 56, is nearly a lifelong Kansan, growing up in Manhattan and Topeka. He attended Kansas State University and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in fisheries and wildlife biology, with a fisheries concentration. After a two-year stint as a fisheries management technician for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Murrell returned to Kansas as a wildlife information representative for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in 1989.
When the Great Plains Nature Center (GPNC) in Wichita opened in 1996, Murrell was named manager and he served in that role until he took over as director in 2017. The GPNC is a cooperative venture between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, KDWPT, the City of Wichita and the Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center. In addition to his duties with GPNC, Murrell conducted many outdoor skills events through KDWPT’s “Pass It On” program and has been a staff writer/photographer for Kansas Wildlife & Parks Magazine since 1989. He also coordinated KDWPT’s involvement at the Kansas State Fair for 30 years, spending 10 days each September overseeing booth staffing and visiting with the public about Kansas’ outdoor opportunities. Murrell is a dedicated ambassador for Kansas outdoor recreation, presenting thousands of programs to school groups, various civic groups and appearing hundreds of times on local network television news stories and features. He retired from KDWPT in March after a 32-year career.
In his spare time, Murrell worked as a freelance outdoor writer and photographer, his work appearing in dozens of local, regional and national newspapers, magazines and websites. From 2006 to 2017, Murrell produced a full page of outdoor content, “The Great Outdoors with Marc Murrell,” every Sunday for the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Murrell and his wife Candace, a schoolteacher, raised three children in Newton. When Murrell isn’t promoting outdoor recreation, he’s participating in outdoor activities such as bowhunting big game, waterfowl hunting, and fishing for walleye, crappie and channel catfish. However, his proudest moments are those spent with his children and extended family hunting, fishing and camping.
No stranger to Wildscape, Murrell assisted with several Fishing Classics over the years. He also worked with Black on Outdoor Kansas for Kids (OK Kids) events and produced magazine articles highlighting Wildscape’s involvement with KDWPT’s cabin program.
Wildscape is a non-profit foundation started in 1991 by former Governor Mike Hayden with a mission to provide public outdoor opportunities for all Kansans. A few of their projects include financing construction of 73 KDWPT cabins in state parks and wildlife areas, creating the OK Kids events which now take place all across the state, construction of Milford Wetlands projects, and others that provide opportunities for people to enjoy Kansas’ wild places. Wildscape is managed by a board of directors with distinguished members from various businesses and organizations from across Kansas.
“Charlie did a great job with Wildscape and I hope I can pick up where he left off and continue doing great things for public outdoor opportunities in Kansas,” Murrell said. “I look forward to this new challenge and chapter in my life and truly appreciate the opportunity.”