The idea for a Nature Center in Tulsa began with a concept and plan presented to the Tulsa Parks Department by Philip Nelson in 1972. The Tulsa Audubon Society became involved, working to get the idea off the ground. Our non-profit organization was established in early 1975 by those involved in the project and was named Mohawk Nature Center Development, Inc., (MNCDI.) We raised the funds for the Master Plan that was created by the National Audubon Society. Once that plan was approved by the Park Board and City Commission, MNCDI raised the initial funds for the shelter, trail system and other improvements.
In 1979, through a challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation and another major gift from John and Mary Oxley, funding was provided for the construction of the Oxley-Yetter Interpretive Building. MNCDI contracted for all the construction work, and then turned the completed facilities over to the City of Tulsa as each was finished. Once the physical improvements were in place, the role of the organization changed from that of fund raising and construction to being a membership/support organization for the Nature Center, and the name was officially changed to the Mary K. Oxley Nature Center Association, Inc. We provide advice and expertise as well as financial support to continue growth and development of Oklahoma's finest Nature Center.
It is important to know that this special place was the result of citizen action and involvement with the City government to push for, fund and build a worthwhile facility that the City would not have done on its own.