Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) Workshop

Event information: Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) Workshop, September 22, Cooperstown, NY

Recently, ALLARMies made their way to Otsego County in upstate New York to lead a volunteer monitoring workshop. The event took place on Saturday, September 22 in collaboration with the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA). This year, we celebrated the first anniversary of our volunteer monitoring partnership! At the workshop, volunteers reviewed the stream monitoring protocol including the use of handheld conductivity meters, chemical parameter kits, and at-stream sample collection. The data that these volunteers collect are important in understanding patterns in the health of waterways and add to the continuously growing Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative (CMC) database.

In addition to the monitoring protocol, we also had the opportunity to collect and observe macroinvertebrates from the stream down the road. Who doesn’t love to find indicators of a healthy stream? They are pretty cool under the microscope too! With the aid of an identification tool, volunteers categorized the different types of macroinvertebrates, observed species characteristics, and calculated a “water quality score” based on the abundance and diversity of the macros.

I have had the opportunity to work with OCCA volunteers during workshops twice before, so it was rewarding for me to create a relationship with some of the returning monitors as well as see the progression of the workshop. I enjoyed working alongside my awesome colleagues and spending time in the stream with some stylish waders. I also loved seeing people from different places in life excited about their local resources and interested in learning more about it through observation and monitoring.

After collecting macroinvertebrates from the stream, volunteers observe them under the microscope and try to identify the different species.