Blue Thumb Volunteer Conference

image of Jean Lemmon, Cheryl Cheadle, Dr. Robert Carlson, and Kim Shaw
From left) Jean Lemmon, Cheryl Cheadle, Dr. Robert Carlson, and Kim Shaw at the 2010 Blue Thumb Volunteer Conference. held in Oklahoma City November 5 & 6. Carlson is a well-known advocate of volunteer monitoring and the founder of the Secchi Dip-In, an annual event to gather water clarity information from volunteers world-wide.

Oklahoma City University hosted the 2010 Blue Thumb Volunteer Conference Nov. 5-6.

The conference, held biennially, brought in volunteers and people from all corners of the state interested in volunteer water quality monitoring. Topics presented included: 

image of Bruce Lemmon teaching class
Bruce Lemmon (front of the room), an outreach/information specialist from Tulsa, provided volunteers with the challenge to “find a venue and let your community know about Blue Thumb and stream protection.”
  • Educating the citizens in your watershed
  • Invasive Plants
  • Wild Yards
  • Making Data Meaningful
  • Value of Outdoor Education

Blue Thumb coordinator Cheryl Cheadle said, “We worked to offer these folks information that would be useful, and a chance to have fun and chat.”  Apparently, everything came together as planned, Cheadle added, stating “comments about the speakers and other facets of the conference have been very positive.”  It didn’t hurt, she said, that the attending volunteers also got to select a monitoring tool or two to keep such as a Secchi tube, winter gloves, timer, stream keeper guide, Oklahoma birds, and other items. 

image of volunteers walking through trail
Volunteers disappear down the trail of Oklahoma City University’s Gamble Buchanan Outdoor Lab as the final activity of the 2010 volunteer conference. Two streams flow through the 27-acre outdoor classroom.

Another big plus, Cheadle said, was the attendance of Dr. Bob Carlson, retired professor from Kent State University who is well-known throughout volunteer monitoring circles. Dr. Carlson mingled and chatted one-on-one with the volunteers on Friday evening.

Oklahoma City University is also helping to sponsor the first-ever Blue Thumb conference for high school teachers and students on Nov. 20, 2010.