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Volunteers needed for "Blue Thumb" Project

March 9, 2012

The Pushmataha Conservation District is sponsoring a “Blue Thumb Training for New Volunteers” on Friday and Saturday, March 9th and 10th at the Antlers Community Building located at 204 SW 4th Street. Blue Thumb is a water pollution education program that counts on volunteers to perform stream monitoring, screen ground water, and educate the public about pollution prevention.

The two-day training is free, but does require advanced registration. Cheryl Cheadle, coordinator of the program said, “We typically get a good variety of people at these sessions, from 4-H leaders to science teaches, to people who are retired.” Cheadle added that with all the beautiful streams around Antlers, she expects lots of people to show up.

“There are a number of volunteers working in southeast Oklahoma,” Cheadle said, adding that streams are monitored in Latimer, LeFlore and McCurtain Counties, as well as across the state. Cheadle also said that the Choctaw Nation is interested in performing Blue Thumb monitoring on the Kiamichi River.

People who complete the training are loaned a test kit which they keep so long as they complete monthly monitoring in a site and report the data results. Seasonal biological collections also take place. Cheadle said, “The best way to know something about a stream is by looking at the water chemistry, the life in the stream, and also at stream habitat. Blue Thumb helps citizen volunteers to do this.”

The training will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. each day. To sign up, contact Cheadle at 918-398-1804 or the Pushmataha County Conservation District at 580-298-3998.

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