Representatives from several of our local tribal environmental departments began working with LEAD Agency as we all make these early decisions: place and dates, topics and pacing. After having had the opportunity to have our 16th at the First Christian Church and our 17th in the ballroom at the Beautiful Coleman Theater, we are planning to return to the Miami Civic Center this fall.
The Tar Creek issues involve serious science when we are discussing the restoration of the largest superfund site in the nation. Participants can be assured both sides of the brain will be used while attending, as we will be inviting local artists and crafts persons to display their work, as well as encouraging student and locals to depict environmental themed entries.
With Earth Day approaching expect to be seeing and hearing more about the entries we received this year from Miami High School art instructor Dawn Hill and elementary art instructor Teri Riley. Many of the student entries illustrate they understand the fundamentals: the creek is orange, fish are struggling and that is just not right! But many illustrate what future fish in a clean Tar Creek could look like and the great importance of the bees to our livelihood and the role we must take to save them and our butterflies. Partially because these topics were on this year's agenda, Leslie Swan called to volunteer with us and I just had to show her some of the incredible student artwork!
Details for LEAD's big Earth Day event this year began to come together. We are so inspired by the City of Miami's future view including Tar Creek as an asset, it was only proper to invite City Engineer Chuck Childs. We asked Kelsey Russel with the Northeast Tribal Health System to help in the planning of our first big event since we received our CertiHealthy award last week.
Quapaw High School art instructor Phillis Cruzan read my mind when I walked into her classroom this week and immediately agreed to have her students take an active role in that event, the Recycle Tar Creek Bike Ride. The year Georgeanne Roye was teaching English at Miami High School, many of her students rode beside the Quapaw and Picher students in our big bike ride with TEAL (Tribal Efforts Against Lead). It was before the last buy-out of Picher, before the tornado. Phillis has been waiting all these years to do it again. In the meantime Georgeanne married, graduated law school, started a family and moved back home to practice hometown law with Chuck Chesnut.
Leslie Brown came this week to do some clinical hours needed for her BS in nursing. She had received her RN at NEO, loved the area and though she works in Tulsa at St. John's, wanted to come back here to do these required hours. She filled her day, team teaching a lead poisoning lesson with Dan Clark and canvassing the neighborhood with information on the EPA yard removal option; her photos helped document on-going projects.
Western Illinois University, Masters in Public Health intern Dan Clark held another lead training for property managers and home owners, continued his research on the long term effects of lead poisoning on adults, including the link from adverse social skills including criminal behavior. In the future this earnest young man will provide the latest literature on effects of lead poisoning to local health and legal professionals.
A question and a comment came from LinkedIn and was passed along to me from a young woman who had lived in Picher. She said, "People need to understand the true life and reliving horror of lead." What a powerful statement. She wanted to know the effects of high lead levels on people her age. She didn't tell me her age, but most of the stories in the news list only the effects to children, but lead has no age limits. Lead can harm every system in the body, lead accumulated as a child can be carried into adulthood, stored in bones as if it were calcium. When pregnant women don't have enough stored calcium, the body will share that lead with the fetus, or when breastfeeding lead can be shared by the mother to her child.
What she ended up saying is EDUCATE EVERYONE. I would like her to know that is what I am trying to do, because everyone can learn and teach someone else. We want her to help us make this happen.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim