Nature Conservancy Unveils Name of New Preserve along Blue River

The official name is Oka’ Yanahli (oh-kuh yuh-naw-lee), which means "water flowing" in the Chickasaw language.

Connerville, Oklahoma | March 31, 2012

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.

Oklahoma's Blue River

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 global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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