OKLAHOMA CITY — From Pawhuska to Ada, residents throughout the state are reporting they are receiving their bison-themed specialty license plates benefitting The Nature Conservancy in the mail and are proudly sporting them on their vehicles.

The first report of a purchaser receiving their bison license plate came from Tawnda Hopper of Pawhuska on Monday, Aug. 7.

“It was the moment we have been waiting for, to hear that someone had received their bison plate in the mail,” said Mike Fuhr, State Director for The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma. “It was pretty wild to hear it from one of our very own, Tawnda Hopper, who happens to work at our Tallgrass Prairie Preserve which is home to a herd of 2,500 bison. Since then, reports have been pouring in from all over the state.”

Chuck Copeland of Oklahoma City ordered his plate in November of 2016 and received it Monday of this week. “Couldn’t be more proud. Well worth the wait,” said Copeland.

Patrick Williams of Edmond shared the same sentiments. “It arrived!!!! Going on my truck today!! Will be proud to drive with this license plate,” said Williams.

Thus far, only pre-numbered plates have been reported as being received. These begin with the letters “NC”, which were chosen by the Oklahoma Tax Commission to stand for “Nature Conservancy.”

“We haven’t received any reports of custom character orders being received yet, so those are still being processed by the Oklahoma Tax Commission,” said Fuhr. “While not everyone has received their plates, we are certainly relieved to know the plates are beginning to show up in mailboxes and it’s exciting to see them on the streets. We are grateful to our fellow Oklahomans who pre-ordered for their support and patience.”

On Nov. 1, 2016, the Conservancy began accepting pre-orders for a bison-themed special interest plate to benefit their conservation efforts in Oklahoma. Within less than two months, the Conservancy collected the required 500 pre-orders. Pre-orders were accepted until February 1, 2017 with a total of 1,200 collected.

Those who pre-ordered and have not yet received their bison plate, can expect to receive theirs in the mail this summer from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Anyone else wanting a bison license plate may place an order by visiting nature.org/okbison to download a form and mail to the OTC. Order fulfillment may take a few months. Plates will be received in the mail from the OTC.

The initial registration fee for the bison license plate is $38 and annual renewal fee is $36.50. A portion of the initial registration fee and annual renewal fee ($20) will benefit The Nature Conservancy.

Nearly 15,000 Oklahomans voted for their favorite of eight bison-themed license plate designs in an online contest in September 2016. With 3,405 votes, the “Pioneers of the Prairie” design by Chris Miller at Cubic Creative in Tulsa was the winning design selected by the public for a new Oklahoma specialty license plate.

Why bison? Because bison played a crucial role historically in maintaining our grasslands, the Conservancy manages 13 herds throughout North America including a herd of 2,500 at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska.

“Great herds of bison once roamed the prairies of our nation, including Oklahoma,” said Fuhr. “And during this time of celebrating bison as our national mammal, we felt this would be a great opportunity to generate awareness about the important role bison play in maintaining Oklahoma’s native prairies.”

Visit nature.org/okbison for more information and to download the OTC order form.

— The Nature Conservancy