Mayo Clinic donates $100,000 to new Oxbow Park nature center

Some major funding is coming to the Oxbow Park in Byron thanks to Mayo Clinic.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:13 PM CST
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BYRON, Minn. (KTTC) – Some major funding is coming to the Oxbow Park in Byron thanks to Mayo Clinic. The organization Friends of Oxbow received a $100,000 grant from the medical giant for the New Nature Center.

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

“We’ll have more space for classrooms. We’ll have more space in the exhibit hall, bigger and better exhibits for our animals that currently live in the nature center and then more space in a staff area also,” Oxbow Park naturalist Megan Long said.

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

“We’re refiguring the entrance with a little bit of new landscaping, so it will kind of be the same area to enter, but it will just look a little bit different,” Long said.

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

“When you look from the outside, it has a little limestone on the bottom which matches the exhibits and the other buildings that are inside the zoo,” Long said.

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

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

The organization has been working to raise a million dollars for the project.

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

And after they received the grant from Mayo, members were amazed as they work to continue to build up this new nature center.

“We’re so excited. It just blew us away. We’re very excited and knew that it could be a great help to our fundraising efforts. We just want to thank Mayo very much for providing the funding to go toward the Nature Center. It was very, very much appreciated,” Buckwalter said.

The Friends of Oxbow is still trying to raise a million dollars for the new space. So far, they’re raised nearly $700,000. If you’d like to donate, click here.