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Protect Your Local Creeks and Streams - Become a Blue Thumb Volunteer!
We can't achieve our goal of protecting streams across Oklahoma without the work of dedicated volunteers who are the eyes and ears of their local waterways, advocates for those waterways, and educators in their communities. Blue Thumb volunteers get involved in two primary ways: Education and Monitoring. The first step to both of these is attending one of our volunteer training sessions, which happen across the state and throughout the year.
Intro to Blue Thumb Education Training
The first training all volunteers go through is a one-day introduction to the Blue Thumb program and different ways that you can volunteer with us, with an emphasis on tools to educate others as a Blue Thumb volunteer. Participants will get an overview of the program's history, staff, mission, goals and how they are achieved. They will also get to experience firsthand some of the educational activities that we use most frequently to teach about nonpoint source pollution and other water-related topics. The day always includes a trip to a local creek where our new volunteers will get to explore the biology and physical habitat of a stream, including looking for bugs and fish. It is our hope that at the end of the day, you will have an understanding of what Blue Thumb does, how you can get involved and whether or not you are interested in volunteering with us, as an educator, creek monitor, or one of the other available options. All volunteers must take this training, whether they plan to monitor a creek or not, and they can always make that decision at a later date.
Blue Thumb Water Quality Monitor Training
If you decide to become a water quality monitor, you will then take a second one-day training, focused on the chemical tests our volunteers perform monthly. The day begins with an overview of topics such as water quality, nonpoint source pollution and the chemical tests we perform, including what we look for, what acceptable ranges are and why there may be too much of that chemical in your stream. We then visit a nearby creek where participants get the opportunity to go through all of the stream-side monitoring procedures, guided by one of our professional staff. Once volunteers are done at the stream, we return to the indoor location to perform all of the chemical tests, including dissolved oxygen, pH, ammonia nitrogen, chloride, nitrate/nitrite and orthophosphate phosphorus. At the end of the day, you will have a clear understanding of how these tests are performed, what they tell us and what to do with your results when you are done. If you are not sure you want to monitor a creek monthly, that is totally fine, but if you are ready to get started, we will work with you to find an appropriate creek site that you can be excited about visiting every month.