Air quality monitoring bench unveiled at Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City
Downtown Oklahoma City is now the site of one of five air quality monitoring benches in the nation.
The bench, in the Children's Garden at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon. Students from John Rex Charter Elementary did the honors during the balmy afternoon.
At the time of the ceremony, the bench recorded an air temperature of 69 degrees.
The Village Green Station is equipped with air quality monitoring computers and weather instruments that report up-to-the minute concentrations of air pollutants.
The air pollution sensors measure ozone and particulate matter, both of which can be harmful to human health. Weather conditions monitored by the station include wind speed and direction, temperature, rainfall and relative humidity.
The state Department of Environmental Quality partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Myriad Gardens for the project.
How it works
Data collected is available on a display near the bench and is streamed to the Village Green Project webpage for the public to view online. The data is reviewed instantly to ensure its quality and accuracy before being displayed online.
The site is powered by solar panels and can operate for a few days without direct sunlight, powering down functions individually as the power supply diminishes, said Ron Williams, EPA scientist.
In addition to valuable environmental data, the station will assist with children's educational programs for the children and families who walk through the garden.
A sign beside the bench explains the science and technology of the station in simplified terms and through graphics.
"We do a couple of pollinator programs in the summer. We've got a pollinator garden just right here. I didn't know until we were doing this project, but air quality impacts pollinators a ton," said Ann Fleener, education director at the Gardens.
"So, if they don't have great air quality, they actually can't smell the flowers to be able to find them. Good air quality means we have more pollinators, which is great for all of us."
For more information about the Village Green Station, go to www.deq.state.ok.us/aqdnew/monitoring/villagegreen/index.html.