On Tuesday November 14th, I had the opportunity to attend my first virtual data upload workshop alongside Isabel Ruff (Volunteer Monitoring Specialist) and Prerana Patil ’24. The goal of the workshop was to guide volunteers through the process of uploading their monthly baseline water quality data to the Chesapeake Data Explorer site and to instill more confidence in their efforts in doing so.
About 10 volunteer monitors were in attendance, all from different counties or sites. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to engage with volunteers with different levels of experience and comfortability in the data upload process and get a better appreciation for the work that they do to further community science efforts. Isabel Ruff led the first portion of the session by going through the steps within the manual to properly upload data, and also gave information on the process, its relevance, and all that the database has to offer.
I myself learned through my preparation for this workshop that the Chesapeake Data Explorer acts as an important source of information that, once the data is reviewed and published, can be utilized by the broader science community. It is a space that gets to showcase all the wonderful contributions our volunteers make, and I valued getting to learn more about it and the process of adding data to already existing data collected.
For the second portion of the session, we left space for questions and input from volunteers before I led a practice run through of the data upload process. To prepare for this, I made myself familiar with the process and learned about different qualifiers, or problem codes, to identify any discrepancies or particulars to data that need to be conveyed.
This experience was one of my first opportunities to have face-to-face experience with volunteers and I really valued hearing about the work that they were doing and getting to help in giving them the resources to amplify their work. It made me see the tangible connection between the work that our volunteers do and the work that we do at ALLARM.
I look forward to having more interactions with the volunteer community as well as getting to have more opportunities to learn and share information about the health of our local waterways.