GREAT BEND, KS - As a tourism spark, cities on Highway 96 from the western border of Kansas to Ellinwood, nine miles east of Great Bend in central Kansas, are participating in a June Jaunt, beginning June 1. Cities chose something to represent their area and decorate their towns with the artwork in a local walking/driving tour.
With Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivera Wildlife Refuge near Great Bend, and birding such a draw for tourists of our area, Great Bend chose to display three, four, and five feet birdhouses throughout the city. The birdhouses are art pieces not homes for birds! Local artists were commissioned by each business to paint the birdhouses to display in front of their businesses. Dominican Sister of Peace Rebecca Otter, OP, created the design and coordinated the creation of the two birdhouses on the Dominican Sisters of Peace grounds in Great Bend. This is a way we preached in Great Bend through art. One of our birdhouses is by our sign in front of the Motherhouse and has a Dominican theme (pictured right), and the other is farther east on our property with a theme of nature praising God (pictured left); both birdhouses are on Broadway Avenue. Sisters, family members, and friends of Sr. Mary Vuong, OP, on the weekend of her Perpetual Profession of Vows here in Great Bend had the opportunity to see Sr. Rebecca's completed birdhouses while they were here.
The city produced a June Jaunt brochure and a birdhouse tour map for tourists to pick up at the Convention and Visitors' Bureau to assist newcomers to Great Bend to participate in the Jaunt activities and the walking tour of the birdhouses. The 34 locations of birdhouses on the tour will continue to be available for as long as the birdhouses last!