Aprons and Lace Oklahoma Home and Community Education recently met to celebrate OHCE Week and to recognize Safe Drinking Water Week.
Guest speaker Ed Fite, Grand River Dam Authority vice president of water quality, addressed 25 members and guests regarding drinking water sources, the challenges of making water safe to drink, and possible solutions.
GRDA Scenic Rivers Commission works closely with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. By legislative mandate, the state board oversees 13 watershed regions which are divided into 82 sub-basins.
“We’re generally using ground water in the western part of the state and surface water in the eastern,” said Fite.
Problems affecting local water quality in recent years are the poultry industry and population increase. More people moving to rural areas results in deforestation.
“Trees can hold a lot of water,” said Fite. “Removing trees and grass contributes to water run-off and increased flooding.”
He encouraged everyone to use water conservation measures at home and at work. Fite concluded by recommending watching “Our Borrowed Water” on YouTube, a GRDA documentary detailing the importance of the Illinois and Grand River watersheds.
In a business meeting following Fite’s presentation, member Wilma Baldridge announced Resource Management Committee plans for group follow-up. Volunteer teams will briefly summarize water conservation tips during each monthly meeting throughout the year. Teams will concentrate on areas inside and outside the home.
OHCE Week gives members an opportunity to say thank you to local groups that serve the community. Snacks were delivered to Tahlequah Police Department, Cherokee County Detention Center, Tahlequah and Cherokee Nation ambulances, Northeastern Health Systems hospital, Cherokee County Commissioners, and fire departments of Tahlequah, Woodall, and Keys, and other offices.
Memorial scholarships and gifts are also given during OHCE Week. Keys seniors Levi Hood, Jessie Little Keys, and Madison McCollum received $300 each from the Glenda McCollum Memorial Scholarship fund. On behalf of the Northeastern State University ROTC Riverhawk Battalion, Maj. Joseph Winglemire received the one-time Mildred Fain Memorial Gift. Winglemire said the $1,300 gift would be used for flags for their battalion.
The next Cherokee County OHCE meeting will take place on June 6 at 10 a.m, June 6. Sewing camp will be held July 7-8. The next Aprons and Lace meeting will take place at the community building on June 12 at 6:30 p.m.