On Monday February 28, I accompanied Stephanie Letourneau (Community Science Specialist) and Charlotte Kratovil-Lavelle ‘24 on a trip to Lycoming County to distribute equipment to our Stream Team volunteers. Armed with gauge sticks, turbidity tubes, sampling poles, and monitoring kits, we set off to meet the volunteers and introduce them to the basics of the equipment. Our journey began with a 2-hour drive from Carlisle to Montoursville – a beautiful drive to say the least – and upon arrival we promptly unloaded the van and met our collaborators from the Lycoming County Conservation District; Carey Entz-Rine, the Watershed Specialist for Western Lycoming, and John Zaktansky, the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper.
Together, we set up the event and prepared for our volunteers; we organized the tables with supplies, set up a sign in, and went over the event itinerary. When people started to come in, I manned the sign-in table to give volunteers our agreement forms and ALLARM swag. After a prompt sign in, we went through the basics of the kits – how to care for the equipment and the function of each element. Charlotte and I went over basic care which entailed where to keep the kit and how to keep the equipment from corroding. Then, Charlotte covered gauge sticks and sampling poles while I demonstrated how to use the conductivity meters. Finally, Stephanie taught the volunteers how to measure turbidity and gave them information for sampling sites and safety. After our demonstrations, volunteers signed out their kits, and with that, the event was complete!
Although this was not a formal training, being able to give volunteers tools to participate in community science was incredibly fun. It was my first in-person Stream Team event, so talking to volunteers and seeing the variety of people we work with was both educational and exciting. Overall, the night went smoothly, and I feel our volunteers have the foundation to continue their adventure into the science world. Soon they will be trained in a workshop which covers our protocols and testing guidelines, which will prepare them to do official data collection!