Fall Conodoguinet Creek Snapshot

Event information: Conodoguinet Creek Snapshot, September 29, ALLARM offices in Kaufman Hall, Carlisle, PA

On Saturday morning, around 20 volunteers spread out along the Conodoguinet Creek and its tributaries to collect water samples and bring them to ALLARM’s home base in Kaufman Hall. Four times a year, citizen scientists test 20 sites for pH, nitrate, orthophosphate, and conductivity to get a picture of the health of the watershed at one point in time…a snapshot of water quality.

Among all the other amazing work that ALLARM does in the community, the Conodoguinet Creek Snapshot is special to me because the volunteers get to come into our space and work directly alongside us. ALLARM watershed coordinators collect samples from two stream sites and go through the testing process exactly as the other volunteers do in the lab. We also have an educational table where volunteers can learn about ALLARM’s mission, programs, and relevant topics like the hydrology of storm events. My favorite part of each Snapshot is the results table, where we have maps showing the previous season’s results at each site and tables containing the long-term data from previous Snapshots. I love the keen observations that volunteers make when they see their data in the larger context of the watershed and they compare that day’s data to their past results. Great conversations always flow at the results table.

Being that this is a recurring event, it is so wonderful to see the mixture of new and returning faces each time. Reconnecting with returning volunteers is always fun because of the relationships you develop with them and because of their ability to immediately see trends in their data by drawing upon their past experiences. The new volunteers bring with them so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. All the volunteers always wow me with their superb level of engagement and excellent questions. Our conversations inevitably evolve into sharing personal stories that remind me how relevant ALLARM’s work really is. My community experiences at ALLARM never fail to leave me feeling heartened and inspired. They reinforce to me how important our work is through this indispensable face-to-face connection that makes everything we work for so tangible.

Volunteers testing for pH in stream samples