Press Release:

Oklahoma’s sustainable travel program, ECO – Encouraging Conservation in Oklahoma – will host a free workshop in Enid in conjunction with the Northwest Oklahoma Tourism Forum. The ECO workshop will take place the morning of Feb. 11 and focuses on sustainable certification, education, and marketing options while the Tourism Forum will be held that afternoon and provides information on tourism promotion resources and a venue for collaboration, networking and sharing of ideas and marketing resources.

Barbie Elder and Jessica Blackstock from the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (OTRD) and Dianne Wilkins from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will lead the ECO workshop, ECO 411: The Buzz on Oklahoma’s Sustainable Travel Program, which also includes expertise from other agency and community leaders. ECO is a partnership program between OTRD and DEQ. The workshop will be at the Autry Technology Center.

Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center and Northwestern Oklahoma State University will host the Tourism Forum at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. The forum will feature guest speakers including Hardy Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, Sandy Pantlik, director, Travel Promotion Division, and Ron Stahl, co-host of Integris’ Discover Oklahoma television show.

“Now more than ever, travelers are looking for green options and the ECO program meets that need,” said Hardy Watkins. “The ECO workshop will allow our tourism industry to learn how to engage in the ECO program through certification, marketing opportunities and educational components. The forum will complement the workshop by providing an opportunity to connect with other professionals and generate new ideas for promoting tourism throughout the state.”

The Northwest Oklahoma Tourism Day will take place on February 11, 2010. The ECO workshop will be from 10 a.m. to noon at Autry Technology Center and the Tourism Forum will be from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. There is no fee for the workshop, however all interested parties must register for planning purposes.

For more information about the workshops or to register for either or both, contact Jessica Blackstock at or call 405-230-8415. For more information on ECO please see