On Thursday, October 20th, Phoebe Galione (Outreach Manager) and I traveled to Camp Hill, PA, where we spoke to the Appalachian Audubon Society. We gave a presentation ranging from ‘what is c-science?’, to water quality influencers, and gave a glimpse into ALLARM’s volunteer monitoring program, Stream Team! I addressed this final presentation point, speaking about the volunteering cycle as well as reflecting on personal experiences from the perspective of a student watershed coordinator.
Prepping for the workshop was a meaningful experience for me. It brought up a whirlwind of fond memories, points of growth, and space for celebration of the work I did and what it all means to me. I enjoyed reflecting on all of the past workshop experiences I was a part of, and how those opportunities provided me with the knowledge and confidence to better understand aquatic science and to be able to shape information for different audiences in an engaging way.
Upon arriving at the Appalachian Audubon Society meeting, the upbeat energy and passion of the attendees as they caught up and spoke, provided me with so much comfort, confidence, and belonging to the physical space. When it was time for ALLARM to present, I loved listening to Phoebe talk about the importance of and diversity in C-Science involvement, and noted how the audience really connected with that identity, both as a birder and environmentalist. It was then my turn.
I had a lot of fun walking through the cycle of monitoring, adding personal milestones and experiences and dry humor too, of course! I also appreciated the opportunity to reflect and share what working at ALLARM means to me as an individual, student, and as an aspiring scientist. Additionally, it was really powerful to take a fear of mine (presenting in this case), challenge it, and leave the event feeling good about the resulting effort.
I am also really glad to have met and crossed paths with Jeff Gleim, a York County Stream Team volunteer who was one of the audience members during the presentation. I love being able to put a face to a name I had heard in context of Stream Team, and getting to hear about his passions as a birder. I later met him again at the Chesapeake Bay Forum, and had the opportunity to hear about his monitoring equipment inventions, and the push to make C-Science more accessible for all. It is a full-circle moment like this that reminds me of not only the importance of C-Science, but the value and humanity it cultivates as people from all walks of life come together in pursuit of a common goal.