The Nature Conservancy (TNC) celebrated its newest preserve on Oklahoma’s Blue River today with a public dedication ceremony and unveiling of the official name. “We are proud to announce the official name of the preserve selected from over fifty public suggestions. It was tough to keep the secret, but well worth the wait. The official name is Oka’ Yanahli (oh-kuh yuh-naw-lee), which means water flowing in Chickasaw,” State Director Mike Fuhr said. Jo Ann Ellis of Tupelo submitted the name Oka’ Yanahli for the preserve.
Another name submitted by the public was Blue River Revival from Priscilla Crawford of Norman. Although her suggested name was not chosen for the preserve, it was selected for the name of today’s event.
“We are honored that The Nature Conservancy chose to embrace Chickasaw heritage by choosing this name for the preserve,” said Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. “Chickasaw people have recognized the beauty and significance of the Blue River for more than 160 years. We are pleased to work with The Nature Conservancy to preserve this beautiful Oka’ Yanahli for generations to come.”
Inaugural partners who made the purchase of this preserve possible include the Chickasaw Nation, Inasmuch Foundation, The Pauline Dwyer Macklanburg and Robert A. Macklanburg, Jr. Foundation, Dolese Bros. Co., and Rudy & Deb Herrmann.
The dedication ceremony, titled “Blue River Revival”, was a family-friendly event on the banks of the Blue River featuring Governor Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation as the keynote speaker, a live performance from the Chickasaw Nation stomp dancers, and live music from Green Corn Revival, an Oklahoma native band.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.