Six groups of Oklahomans were honored for their collaborative approach to conservation on the Blue River at the 22nd Annual Environmental Excellence Celebration sponsored by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.
The Nature Conservancy, Chickasaw Nation, Inasmuch Foundation, The Pauline Dwyer Macklanburg and Robert A. Macklanburg, Jr. Foundation, Dolese Bros. Co., and Rudy & Deb Herrmann were each recognized with the “Team Builders Award” for their partnership this past year on the conservancy’s newest preserve Oka’ Yanahli (oh-kuh yuh-naw-lee), which means “water flowing” in Chickasaw.
“We are glad we got the opportunity to partner with The Nature Conservancy and the other supporters of the Oka’ Yanahli Preserve,” President of Dolese Bros. Co. Mark Helm said. “The company realizes the importance of this region to local citizens, communities and industries and takes seriously the need to act responsibly in conserving its natural resources. Our company believes the greatest conservation impacts will be made through the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders.”
On Dec. 6, 2011, the conservancy purchased 490 acres along the Blue River in southern Oklahoma with assistance from the Chickasaw Nation, Inasmuch Foundation, The Pauline Dwyer Macklanburg and Robert A. Macklanburg, Jr. Foundation, Dolese Bros. Co., and Rudy and Deb Herrmann.
“One of the main ways we achieve our mission ‘to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends’ is by using a non-confrontational, collaborative approach to conservation,” state director Mike Fuhr said. “The Oka’ Yanahli Preserve is a prime example of how a variety of organizations can come together to synchronize their actions in a way that will ensure the future of water for nature and people.”
"The Blue River is on the cusp of the next generation of crucial water management decisions in Oklahoma. It is a critical source of water for the city of Durant. The partnership will allow the conservancy to provide a template for restoration, sustainable use, education and protection," officials said.