Mayo Clinic donates $100,000 to new Oxbow Park Nature Center

BYRON, Minn. (KTTC) – Thanks to Mayo Clinic, Oxbow Park in Byron is getting some serious funding. The Friends of Oxbow organization received a $100,000 grant from the medical giant for the New Nature Center.

Crews have been hard at work since May 2021 to build the new nature center at Oxbow Park in Byron. It is three times the size of the current natural center.

“We will have more space for classrooms. We will have more space in the showroom, bigger and better exhibits for our animals that currently live in the nature center and then more space in a staff area as well,” said Megan Long, Oxbow Park naturalist.

Once the new nature center is up and running, the old building will be demolished and replaced with more natural space.

“We are reconfiguring the entrance with some new landscaping, so it will be the same area to enter, but it will look a little different,” Long said.

The new construction materials have elements of the old building to remember the history of Oxbow.

“When you look from the outside, it has a bit of limestone in the background that matches the exhibits and the other buildings that are inside the zoo,” Long said.

All funding for the project comes from the Friends of Oxbow, an organization that supports the park and helps with fundraising.

“We like to support classrooms, technology in the classroom, biome exhibits and then just buy animals, anything new they want to buy and put in the Nature Center,” said Friends of Oxbow President Seanne Buckwalter.

The organization has been working to raise $1 million for the project.

“They are pretty close to that. They raised quite a bit of money and part of that was the $100,000 we received from Mayo,” Long said.

And after receiving the Mayo grant, members were amazed as they work to continue building this new nature center.

“We are very excited. She just blew us away. We are very excited and knew that it could be of great help to our fundraising efforts. We just want to say a big thank you to Mayo for providing the funds for the Nature Center. It was very, very appreciated,” Buckwalter said.

Friends of Oxbow is still trying to raise $1 million for the new space. So far, they have raised nearly $700,000. If you would like to donate, click here.

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