Data Contribution from Columbia County

Columbia Stream Team Virtual Data Explorer Meeting

Participants: Hiba Aoid ’21, Rachel Krewson ’20, Karan Shakya ’20, Helen Schlimm

On March 26, 2020, Community Science Specialist Helen Schlimm along with three watershed coordinators Rachel Krewson, Karan Shakya, and myself, held a virtual Zoom meeting with the Colombia County Stream Team for Data Explorer training. Our virtual meeting’s goal was to go step by step with our stream team volunteers to train them how to upload their data to the Chesapeake Data Explorer. The Data Explorer is an application which allows our stream team volunteers to upload their water quality and macroinvertebrate data to an online database, which eventually gets uploaded to the national water quality portal.

This was one of our earlier events following our campus shutdown and ALLARM’s transition to remote work. Although our original plan was to drive up to Bloomsburg, PA on March 16th for a physical meeting to reconnect on stream team monitoring, collect Quality Control (QC) samples, and give a training on the data upload process, our team was able to overcome the unexpected challenges that came with an abrupt change of plan. The volunteers who were present were very dedicated and asked pertinent questions. Helen was also very fast at troubleshooting some technical issues we faced along the way when it came to the registration process. The rest of training went smoothly as Helen demonstrated how to upload water quality data and our stream team volunteers followed accordingly and were able to successfully add two data points to the database, something we were able to visualize on the map available on the website at the end!

It’s uplifting to witness how our ALLARM family has been able to adapt and overcome the swift disruption of transitioning to remote work amid this global pandemic. As a watershed coordinator, I feel supported by our full-time staff who continue to successfully push our mission as an environmental organization forward, as well as empower and celebrate our and our communities’ achievements.