PSO Awards $50,000 for Nature Conservancy Fund

PSO Awards $50,000 for Nature Conservancy Fund

SERENITY: A view from the Nature Conservancy preserve near Tahlequah.

The Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy announces the creation of its first-ever scientific research fund for use in the state. The PSO Science Fund is the result of a $50,000 donation from the Public Service Company of Oklahoma.

A brief ceremony to explain the details of the donation took place December 13 at the preserve headquarters of the J. T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve near Tahlequah.

“The creation of this new fund will expand the scope of scientific inquiry at conservancy preserves and across the state,” said Jay Pruett, Director of Conservation for the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. “We are grateful for PSO’s outstanding leadership in funding important conservation research in Oklahoma, and we encourage other potential donors to join them in supporting this newly created science fund,” Pruett added.

The PSO Science Fund will be applied by the Conservancy to support scientific research related to its conservation programs throughout the state. The funds will be used by Oklahoma Chapter staff or other research partners of the Conservancy as a means to gather baseline biological data, expand understanding of conservation issues, fund education efforts and improve practical conservation experience.

The Oklahoma Chapter will add newly gained information produced by the PSO Science Fund to the existing data and strategies it already shares with universities, state and federal resource agencies and private landowners in pursuit of the Conservancy’s mission to protect naturally functioning landscapes, rivers and the native plants and animals that survive there.

“We are pleased to take a leadership position and partner with the Nature Conservancy in this important work,” says Stuart Solomon, PSO president and chief operating officer. “This fund will support research that will help to preserve Oklahoma’s rich environmental heritage for future generations.”

The Conservancy hopes to use portions of the PSO funds as a potential match for future government or private conservation grants, thus increasing the overall leverage of the company’s donation.

Following research results, the Conservancy plans to create educational lesson plans based on information gained by each research project. These lesson plans will then be distributed by PSO in Oklahoma for use by educators interested in each research topic.

“Oklahoma school children will benefit from the results of the research into their state’s environment,” Solomon noted. “This is an exciting opportunity to share in-depth knowledge about Oklahoma’s extensive environmental diversity with our young people.”

One example of the Conservancy’s plans to expand our understanding of biodiversity in Oklahoma includes completion of an inventory of plant species at the 15,000-acre Nickel Preserve in the Ozarks. This potential research project would partner Conservancy staff with the Oklahoma Biological Survey to create baseline plant data for comparison with future surveys. The ability to monitor the long-term health of this 25-square mile preserve will help the Conservancy measure the success of forest and prairie restoration strategies there.

“We are confident in our conservation strategies at the Nickel Preserve,” stated Pruett, “but with the creation of this science fund, the Conservancy now has a much stronger capacity to more accurately and scientifically measure the restoration of this magnificent Ozark landscape. We’re also excited about sharing the lessons learned through research with Oklahoma teachers, landowners and the greater conservation community as well.”

For more than 50 years, The Nature Conservancy has established a proven record of creating innovative partnerships with corporate partners. Working alongside the business community, the Conservancy has collaborated to find common ground to support conservation efforts to protect and restore entire functioning landscapes in all 50 states and 29 countries.

The Conservancy gratefully acknowledges PSO for its investment in conservation, and encourages other Oklahoma businesses to join in the effort to expand this newly created research tool. For more information, contact The Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy office in Tulsa, 585-1117.

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is the world’s leading international, non-profit conservation organization, established in 1951 to preserve plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. To date, the Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 14 million acres in the United States, and have helped through partnerships to preserve more than 102 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, Asia and the Pacific.

The Oklahoma Chapter owns or protects 13 preserves in the state protecting approximately 72,000 acres. On the web at:

Updated 01-14-2005

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