Seeking Citizen Scientists for Tuba City Water Fair in March
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 2, 2020
TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Do you want to learn how to test your water for germs and chemicals?
Diné College will host a Citizen Science Water Fair March 13 at its Tuba City campus, officials announced. The fair targets the communities of Tuba City, Tonalea, Cameron, Coalmine, Bodaway/Gap and the surrounding areas.
The fair is a collaborative effort between Diné College, the University of Utah and the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency. The first 200 water fair participants that complete the testing and answer a short questionnaire receive a $50 gift card.
Note: Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) water samples will not be accepted.
“Our main objective is education and creating awareness among our communities,” Shazia Hakim, Ph.D, a Diné College microbiology professor and co-investigator of the event, said. Jennifer Lee Weidhaas, Ph.D, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Utah is the principal investigator and Yolanda Barney of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency is the other co-investigator. Hakim continued, “We know water is life and by using treated water we can improve the quality of life in our communities. The fair provides awareness and understanding.”
Hakim said participants will learn and perform simple water testing procedures to understand the difference between treated and untreated water. Hakim explained that untreated water can contain chemicals and germs that can lead to health issues. Even sometimes the water source is good, but our storage system that we have at our homes could be contaminated and this results in health problems. Dr. Weidhaas and students from the University of Utah and Diné College will serve as water testers and assist community members with their water samples.
“I believe this will increase the interest and motivation of our students toward good science and local health issues that can be solved by minor steps and education that they can use for the betterment of Navajo communities,” Hakim said.
“The water fair is the first public awareness associated science fair this year at Diné College, Tuba City, and our team is scheduling two more water fairs in the summer and fall of this year at the Diné College campuses in Tsaile (Ariz.) and Crownpoint (N.M.),” Hakim said.
Prior to the start of the water fair, officials will hit the ground running, giving presentations at chapter houses and various meetings around the Navajo Nation to get the word out.
“We have sterile water collection bottles that we are going to place at chapter houses along with instructions for water collection,” Hakim said. “All the community members who are consuming any kind of untreated water and want to test it will be asked to collect those sterile water collection bottles (set of two bottles per household) from their local chapter house or from the main hogan office at Diné College’s Tuba City Center. Later, they will fill those bottles as per enclosed instructions and bring the bottles to the fair for testing.”
Visit: www.dinecollege.edu/cswf2020 for more information.
Marie R. Etsitty Nez
Vice President of External Affairs
George Joe, M.A., M.Ed, Director Of Marketing and Communications
Bernie Dotson, Public Relations Officer
Scott Tom, Graphic Design and Digital Media Specialist
Jazzmine D. Martinez, Marketing Assistant