Boys and Girls Club members get lessons in water pollution

About 40 children from the Pawhuska Boys and Girls Club got lessons in protecting water from pollution during the “Children of the Middle Waters Day” on Aug. 4.

“If you pollute the water, you’re going to have a problem with these animals and their going to go away,” Osage Language Program instructor Talee Red Corn told the children. He repeated “Ni” to the children, which is Osage for water and introduced environmental officials who offered hands-on demonstrations of how they protect water bodies.

“Ni-o-ka-ska” Day is a collaboration effort of entities including the Nation’s Language Program, Environmental and Natural Resources Department, Education Department and the Minerals Council. Environmental officials from the Pawnee Nation also participated in the hands-on exercises with the attendees.

The children traveled to the pond on the Osage Nation Campus where they learned how to assess a body of water such as a lake or river to evaluate it.

Danna Washbourne, environmental specialist for the Nation’s ENR, showed the children how to use a multi-parameter probe that measure’s a water body’s quality which includes its temperature, depth and ph level. She said the department tests five creeks once a month and collects fish from the creeks every other year to measure its health.

Pawnee Nation environmental officials Kelly Kersey and Phillip Cravatt say they collect bugs and fish from the water to assess its health. They taught the children to use nets to collect the water life and the children counted the bugs as part of the evaluation.