The Oka’ Institute is pleased to announce a Summer Research Opportunity for faculty of East Central University. The goal of the SRO program is to promote water-based scientific research here at ECU. This research gives undergraduate students an opportunity to experience intensive research with faculty mentors and enrichment activities. The SRO allows professors to submit an idea for an 8-week water-related research project. If selected the professor and research assistants will receive a monetary stipend and allotment for expenses to complete the proposed research. Prospective proposals will be for faculty-initiated research projects that support Oka’s Mission of Building a Sustainable Water Future. Proposals may focus on physical, biological or social science topics that advance Oka’s goals and objectives. To find out more about this opportunity visit:

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Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Alan Peoples receives the Oklahoma award. Pictured with Kristen Gillman, Wildlife Lands and Mineral Coordinator at Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Conservation Photo by Kristen Gillman.

Alan Peoples a 30-year retiree from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation was honored at the Oklahoma Natural Resources Conference that was held February 10-12, 2020 in Norman, Oklahoma. The award is the ODWC’s most distinguished and was presented to Peoples for his outstanding contribution to the profession of wildlife management in the state of Oklahoma. “I am honored to receive this award. It is very prestigious, and I sincerely appreciate it. The respect of your peers in anything you do should be your goal from the beginning.” says, Peoples. He came to the ODWC with a BS and MS Degrees in Wildlife Ecology, Oklahoma State University. He was hired as an Upland Game Biologist to originate and direct Oklahoma’s first quail enhancement program. This project included landowner education on habitat management and quail research and monitoring. This commitment to quail conservation has helped to lead to a covey rise in the state of Oklahoma. In November 1999, Peoples was promoted to Chief of Wildlife Division where he was responsible for the management of over 100 employees and 1.4 million acres on 87 Wildlife Management Areas. While in this position Peoples partnered with Oklahoma State University’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management along with the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research to conduct long-term research programs. He continued to make advancements in wildlife management by helping to facilitate the building of two field stations on Beaver River and Packsaddle WMA’s to be used for wildlife research. Another accomplishment of Peoples while serving as Chief was to help the ODWC acquire over 79,000 acres for habitat and species conservation. Oklahoma being 97 % privately owned, this land procurement provides protection for various wildlife and habitats as well as fulfilled the crucial need for public recreational land. Since retiring Peoples has started a new position as Watershed Coordinator for Oka’ The Water Institute at East Central University and is back to helping landowners implement best management practices. This land management will focus on helping to improve soil health and preserve water resources for the state. Susan Paddack Executive Director for Oka’ says, “we are very proud of Peoples winning the Oklahoma Award and are fortunate to have his experience and expertise as an addition to the Oka’ team.”

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In a story in The Oklahoman Jim Stafford writes

"The conference focused on innovators and technologies that are creating new ways to remediate and recycle polluted water, the importance of soil health and ways to protect key water resources such as the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer and Blue River.

But this year’s conference also tackled the issue of water as an economic driver with a panel discussion that featured a trio of state legislative, environmental and economic development leaders who brought their perspectives to the topic."

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST). The full story can be found here.

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