Virtual Training and Refresher with Stream Team

On Thursday, October 27th, ALLARM reunited virtually with Stream Team volunteers for a group training and equipment refresher. We had volunteers join us from York County, Columbia County, Westmoreland County, and Lackawanna County for this 2.5-hour training. The workshop was led by Community Science Specialist Stephanie Letourneau, Outreach Manager Phoebe Galione, and student watershed coordinators Amelia Harper ’25, An Hoang ‘25, and Kailey Sipe ’25, all three of whom are new to ALLARM this fall.

Stephanie Letourneau started the workshop with a brief presentation before we transitioned to the training portion. The Stream Team monitoring procedures were then covered in detail.

An: This was my first Stream Team training experience, and I’m glad I got to prepare for it with the help of everyone on the workshop team. Recently, I have extensively been working on GIS, so reviewing the training videos and Stream Team manual brought memories back of orientation during my first week where we reviewed some of these procedures. During this workshop, I acted out the process for conductivity and read through temperature, which went smoothly with the assistance of Kailey and Phoebe. Throughout this workshop, there were moments where I felt fulfilled and excited working with the ALLARM team as we assisted each other in equipment handling, made light jokes while going through the manual, and interacted with the volunteers. I also realized what community science and volunteer work meant to me, as a new ALLARMie. With newly-gained knowledge and a sense of belonging to my community here, I’m looking forward to participating in more workshops and getting to experience the full circle of volunteer work!

Image shows An measuring conductivity with a probe.

Amelia: This training was my first time working with volunteers at ALLARM. I walked everyone through the water sampling process and the nitrate-nitrogen test, and I acted out the calibrating the conductivity meter and performing the pH test. As a new ALLARMie, it was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone, but it went very well with the support of the team. There was a fantastic sense of camaraderie among the ALLARM team leading up to and during the workshop, which definitely helped me to overcome my nerves in the moment. Since I work primarily in the lab, it was wonderful to get to virtually meet some of the volunteers whose water samples I’ve run QC on, and to be reminded that every bottle of sample water has a person and a story behind it!

Amelia works to calibrate the conductivity probe

Kailey: This workshop was also my first time getting to work with volunteers. At ALLARM, my primary role on the outreach team has me working on the computer creating graphics for social media, so it was nice to learn more about and contribute to the Stream Team experience. I guided the volunteers through the process of testing pH, and acted for temperature and nitrate-nitrogen. Being a new ALLARMie, I was nervous coming into the workshop, but the rest of the team helped to ease my nervousness and were very uplifting. Through this workshop, I learned and saw first-hand how our work impacts our volunteers. They were able to ask questions and gather insight on how to monitor more efficiently at their local streams. It was evident that what they were doing was important to them, which was refreshing to see because it assured me that the work we are doing is making a positive impact. I am grateful to have experienced the impact ALLARM makes on our volunteers through Stream Team monitoring, and hope to work with our volunteers again at another workshop!

Kailey holds a beaker up to the camera to allow volunteers to watch the process.