Welcome to The Oka' Institute


The Oka' Institute vision is to create practical water solutions, both locally and globally, driven by research and directed by data that result in long-term sustainable ecological management and economic development.

Research Poster Competition

Oklahoma undergraduates you are invited to enter a research poster competition relating to water. Sponsored by Oka' The Water Institute At East Central University Research Poster Contest: Cash Prizes October 8-9, 2019

Entry Criteria:

Must be an undergraduate student of a university in the state of Oklahoma.

Must register for the conference.

Contestants using the code OkaStudent will receive complimentary registration for the conference.

Must be present at the conference between 4:00 to 5:45 pm on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, to address questions from judges and distinguished guests.

Poster Criteria:

Quality of Professional Presentation

Composition and Visual Appearance

Motivation of Research/ Content

Scientific Soundness

Relevance, Significance & Impact

Posters will measure 30"x40"

in either landscape or portrait orientation.

Students will need to mount the poster on a 30"x40" foam core poster board. Easel and mounting squares will be provided.

Come join us for our 2019 Sustainability Conference, Solutions for Building a Sustainable Water Future.

Oka' The Water Institute at East Central University is gearing up for our 4th annual Sustainability Conference taking place at the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center on ECUfs campus, Oct. 8-9, 2019.

Register Here

This year's event will include:

A Tuesday luncheon followed by water innovation and technology demonstrations on the Plaza, shuttles to visit the Smithsonian Waterways exhibit hosted by the Ada Public Library, an interactive exhibit on the Plaza by Blue Thumb, our undergraduate poster contest and an evening reception and dinner.

We will begin Wednesday morning sessions with information on the new Eastern Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer Hydrology Study. We will give timely updates from Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and Oklahoma Rural Water Association, followed by a session on economic development relating to water.

Wednesday's afternoon sessions will include an international perspective on emerging water challenges and field research reports by outstanding Oklahoma professors. A new feature of the conference will be breaking into networking and round table discussions on topics of interest to participants.

For purchasing a discounted hotel rate of $125, plus tax for this event:

PLEASE CALL Hampton Inn at: (580) 436-4040 and book 30 days prior to the conference. The hotel registration deadline for special pricing for the conference is September 8, 2019.

When booking mention: The Oka Sustainability Conference.

For more information visit https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/okcadhx-hampton-suites-ada/ (note: booking will need to be done by phone for this rate.)

ECU’s Oka’ Institute selects Professors to lead Summer Research

Ada-The Oka’ Institute is pleased to announce it has selected five East Central University professors – Dr. Randall Maples, Dr. Leah S. Dudley, Dr. Christine Pappas, Kevin W. Blackwood, and Dr. Terrie Becerra — to lead summer research projects.

For the third consecutive year, the Oka’ Institute sponsors professor led scientific research that gives undergrads the opportunity to assist in research. The summer research projects this year will study groundwater connections, collect data to support surface and ground water interactions, investigates water management perspectives and study the ecosystem within the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer .

A grant from The Science and Natural Resource Foundation sponsored Blackwood’s proposal, entitled "Using Groundwater Fauna as Biological Tracers to Determine Groundwater Connections in Karst Aquifers," This research will analyze the DNA from populations of endemic Cave Amphipod to identify hydrological parameters from across the Arbuckle Mountains.

Maples' proposal, entitled "Analysis of Al2O3, TiO2 and SiO2 metal-oxide nanoparticles as potential chemical tracers" will evaluate the use of oxide, as chemical tracers through sedimentary rocked packed columns.

Pappas’ and Becerra’s proposal, entitled "Perceptions of Water as a Cultural Resource" investigates water management perspectives held by Native American tribes and non-tribal stakeholders. Is water viewed as a cultural resource?

Dudley’s proposal, entitled "Milkweed as an indicator species" will consider Milkweed conservation efforts and how this may also rescue species beyond the Monarch using native species within the Arbuckle-Simpson.

Interim reports on the projects will be submitted July 16. Final reports will be completed by Nov. 1. Each project requires the professor to select one or more undergraduates to help with research. As a part of the report student researchers will prepare a summary detailing their work and what they learned as a result of this research.

The Oka’ Institute’s summer 2019 research is expected to collect foundational data that will provide support for sustainable water resource management in our area.