With the announcement of this year’s Chesapeake Watershed Forum theme, “Nature in Your Neighborhood: Connecting Communities to the Outdoors,” the CMC team was excited to propose a session that would highlight the benefits of community based aquatic assessments. Water quality monitoring is a great way for community members to embrace the outdoors and engage their local waterways.
Throughout 2022, an exciting thread of conversations have taken place within CMC about the amazing inventions and low-cost tools that are commonly used in data collection. The team chose to focus our session on “do-it-yourself” (DIY) monitoring equipment, which are creative solutions to make monitoring more comfortable, accessible, or plausible. Both volunteers and staff with the CMC have developed these ideas for cost-cutting and energy saving tools that enhance the field experience.
ALLARM is continually in awe of the ingenuity of our volunteer scientist partners – at almost every meeting we learn of a new technique or tool someone has made. As a result, ALLARM reached out to York County Stream Team volunteers, Jeff and Tina Gleim, who have made a number of DIY tools, to see if they wanted to collaborate. Our session, “Dollars and Sensing” was accepted, and a collaborative presentation took place. Presenters included Stephanie Letourneau (ALLARM), Kira Carney (IWLA), Sophie Stern (ACB), and Jeff Gleim, a Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward and ALLARM Stream Team volunteer for four years.
Jeff contributed his years of monitoring experience and stories that informed the creation of his DIY monitoring equipment to the presentation. He brought examples of his DIY equipment and led demonstrations of how to use his equipment. It was so fun to co-present with Jeff, and we learned from attendees how much they enjoyed his stories and tools. Many of the attendees remarked that it was their first time being in a presentation with a volunteer scientist who takes part in one of the showcased programs. ALLARM looks forward to additional opportunities to collaborate with our incredible volunteers at meetings and conferences!