UCO's Selman Living Lab to Host Water Quality 'Blue Thumb' Volunteer Training

UCO’s Selman Living Laboratory will host a free, two-day Blue Thumb Water Quality Education volunteer training Aug. 23-24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the laboratory located just south of Freedom in northwest Oklahoma. Attendees, like those pictured at a recent training, will learn about stream ecology, pollutants, water testing, watersheds and field collections.

Aug. 4, 2014 

Media Contact: Lindsay Houts, Staff Writer, UCO University Relations, 405-974-2121, lhouts@uco.edu

UCO’S SELMAN LIVING LAB TO HOST WATER QUALITY ‘BLUE THUMB’ VOLUNTEER TRAINING

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Selman Living Laboratory (UCO SLL) will host a two-day Blue Thumb Water Quality Education volunteer training Aug. 23-24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the laboratory located just south of Freedom in northwest Oklahoma. The event is free and open to the public.

The Blue Thumb Program is the Oklahoma Conservation Commission's water pollution education program. Since its inception, the program has trained hundreds of volunteers to safeguard Oklahoma streams, rivers and wetlands from pollution.

“Blue Thumb is a program that supports citizens in doing real data collection on their local streams. There are many ways individuals can protect streams and rivers from pollution and unsustainable land uses. At Blue Thumb training for new volunteers we enter into valuable discussions on such topics,” said Cheryl Cheadle, coordinator of the program.

Blue Thumb is specifically focused on water pollution with no defined point of origin, like sediment from land clearing activities, grass clippings being placed in creeks or lakes, and fertilizer, pesticide and animal waste runoff.

Training attendees will learn about stream ecology, pollutants, water testing, watersheds and field collections, and upon completion the two-day program will be qualified to monitor streams, screen groundwater and educate the public about pollution prevention.

“Water is our most precious resource, and learning about and protecting it is important. This is an opportunity to take a dive into water conservation by becoming a Blue Thumb volunteer,” said Rebecca Pace, Ph.D., manager of the UCO SLL.

Attendees should dress comfortably, be prepared to enter a shallow creek, and bring meals, a water bottle, a change of clothes, a hat, towel, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Sleeping accommodations are available in the SLL bunkhouse; however, space is limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting Pace at rpace2@uco.edu. Campsite reservations are available through the Alabaster Caverns by calling 580-621-3381. Fees vary, and the caverns have no affiliation with the SLL.

To register for the training, contact Cheadle at 918-398-1804 or cheryl.cheadle@conservation.ok.gov. The deadline for registration is Aug. 15.

Driving directions to the UCO SLL are available under the “Location” tab of www.uco.edu/cms/sll. The drive is about 2 1/2 hours from the Oklahoma City metro and 3 1/2 hours from Tulsa.

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Editor’s Note: To download art associated with this release, visit www.uco.edu/photo/BlueThumb07.14.

Cutline: UCO’s Selman Living Laboratory will host a free, two-day Blue Thumb Water Quality Education volunteer training Aug. 23-24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the laboratory located just south of Freedom in northwest Oklahoma. Attendees, like those pictured at a recent training, will learn about stream ecology, pollutants, water testing, watersheds and field collections.