Friends of Oxbow

Fall 2021

Fall Fest

After nearly two years of no Friends of Oxbow events, we held our first ever Fall Fest on Saturday, September 25th. It was a beautiful day for families to enjoy programming by park naturalists, play games, enjoy music, and create crafts. Our goal was to raise awareness of our campaign to raise $1 million toward the new Nature Center. Many people visited our information table and received handouts describing the construction process and our campaign. We were overjoyed to be hosting a large outdoor event again! Friends of Oxbow continues to work on planning fundraising events within the next year to boost our ability to fund the interior and landscaping features of the new Nature Center. Interested in learning more? Visit us at

Fundraising for the Nature Center

The current nature center, built in 1981, is not equipped to provide for the growing opportunities to learn and interact for the over 200,000 park visitors each year. Thus, Olmsted County Parks are embarking upon an ambitious project to build a new nature center beginning in May 2021. Friends of Oxbow needs your help to complete the planned exhibit hall, add classroom technology, and further support zoo animals.

Oxbow Nature Center’s expansive new Exhibit Hall will showcase the geology, flora, and fauna of southeastern Minnesota. Live animal displays, educational exhibits with prompted activities, and areas for exploratory play will excite minds of all ages and offer hours of discoveries. A wildlife viewing area and resource library offers a relaxing place to spend time.

FOX is working harder than ever to build support for this amazing new facility and have set an ambitious $1,000,000 fundraising goal to support classroom technology, biome exhibits, and zoo animals. The new nature center will serve as a hub for the community and with help from people like you, we can extend the park’s programs, activities, and educational impact far beyond what it’s currently able to offer. Regardless of the size of your donation, any amount can help make these essential improvements a reality.

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Want to donate to the Nature center?

We want to make it easy for everyone to donate!

You can donate online here:, contact one of the current board members, or send us an email at: and we can work with you! The picture to the left outlines our plans for a donor wall.

Don't hesitate to reach out! We are happy to answer questions and provide you with information about the new nature center.

Please renew your FOX membership!

FOX renewal membership letters are being mailed out this week! Click the picture or on the link below to renew your membership online through our 4giving site! Thank you for your continued support!

New Merchandise Available!

Come on out to the Nature Center and Check out our new Merchandise! Lots of wool hats, t-shirts, stickers, keychains, birdhouses and more! Great gift ideas for your Oxbow loving friend or family member!

Board Member Highlight

Spotlight: Kris Nelson, Current Vice President

I moved to Byron in 2012 and started visiting Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo frequently to hike and see the zoo animals. Over the course of my visits I became aware of the Friends of Oxbow as the group that helps fundraise for the park, plans events, and supports the mission. I was excited to join the board in January 2020 to help expand the presence of Friends of Oxbow on social media.

Favorite Zoo animal: the otters! They are always excited to see people!

Favorite Trail: The Maple Trial - it is gorgeous regardless of the season

Fun Facts about Me: I am an avid vegan baker - constantly trying to re-work recipes for all sorts of goodies. The biggest accomplishment to date is successfully making vegan macarons - a meringue cookie without eggs!

Give to the Max Day: November 18th!

GiveMN links donors with organizations that are working to make Minnesota a better place. Its online giving website,, enables charitable giving any time and any place, allowing people to donate with ease and enthusiasm. GiveMN brings innovation, energy and fresh ideas to Minnesota generosity. GiveMN is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Explore today.

Friends of Oxbow

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, a small group of people became very involved with Oxbow Park. These folks shared a common love of the outdoors and nature, and took advantage of all that this relatively new county park had to offer. Almost immediately, these pioneers had a vision for how they could influence, support and provide services for the park.

Current Board Members:

Seanne Buckwalter, President

Kris Nelson, Vice President

Lou Kuhlman, Treasurer

Deb Hanson, Secretary

Barb Jensen

Jan Nelson

Byron Stadsvold

Danielle Sterling

Dawn Thompson