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Looking Back

The Oka' Institute at East Central University held the 2022 Sustainability Conference on November 8th-9th. This included an immersion dinner celebrating the collaboration between art and water with a performance from Gary Pratt and Caleb Martin, a live painting demonstration from Brent Greenwood, and Chickasaw Nation Storyteller Donna Courtney Welch.

Featured speakers included Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby; Dr. Chris Frey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistant administrator of Research and Development; new Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Ken McQueen; and ECU President Wendell Godwin.

Oka' wrapped up the event with a field trip to both Bryd's Mill Springs and Enhanced Aquifer Recharge site.


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Duane Smith

Executive Director

The Oka' Institute at East Central University

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Kristopher Patton

Director of Natural Resources

The Chickasaw Nation

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Stephan Greetham

Senior Counsel

The Chickasaw Nation


Barney Austin

President and CEO


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Cody Holcomb

City Manager

City of Ada

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Chris Caron


Occulus Strategies

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Meredith Ellis

Second Generation Rancher

G Bar Ranch

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Hannah Blankenship

Stewardship Manager

Texas Agriculture Land Trust

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Shape of the River

The Shape of the River project began with Dr. Christine Pappas' 2021 summer research project over glass recycling. It has now evolved into this beautiful art project that was debuted during

Oka's 2022 Sustainability Conference.

“Shape of the River” investigates the shape of the Blue River in two ways: the visible form the river takes as it meanders through east-central Oklahoma, and the condition and health of the ecological systems within the river. This was accomplished by using recycled glass to create different concrete pavers that signified different keystone species and data collected. 

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