Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Audubon Society Wants You to Become a Water Quality Monitor

Do you like the outdoors and care about our streams and creeks? You can become a trained water quality monitor and help to protect the quality of the water flowing in Rock Creek Park. The Audubon Naturalist Society and FORCE (Friends ofRock Creek's Environment) are offering a program to train volunteers.

Here's what volunteers do, three times each year, just once in each of three seasons, spring, summer and fall (not in winter, because it's too cold!):  The volunteer team monitors a site in Rock Creek near Cleveland Park.  Volunteers wade in, take a count of the "benthos" found in the water, note observations on temperature and water clarity, release all the critters back into the creek, and the team leader submits the data. The data collected by volunteers at stream sites all over is invaluable to the program. The National Park Service lacks the staff and funding to cover the enormous amounts of hours it would require to do all field collection now done by volunteers. 

If sufficient number of volunteers participate, each team may not be needed for all three inspections.
Anyone can become a team member.  No special equipment required.

If you would like to become a volunteer, you can sign up for the Audubon Society's next class, this Wednesday evening at the headquarters in Chevy Chase.  There is also a class on Saturday, May 7. Here are the details:

Introduction to Water Quality Monitoring, Section A
 Classroom, Wednesday, April 27, 7 to 9 pm
8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase, MD

Field Workshop
Saturday, May 7, 9:00am to 12 noon
Site TBA

Find out how to be a water quality monitor with the Audubon Naturalist Society. Learn how benthic 
macroinvertebrates (a/k/a "benthos") – bottom-dwelling boneless creatures – help us assess the health of local streams and explore thecharacteristics of these organisms to the taxonomic level of order. In the workshop, we will go to a nearby stream to collect benthic macroinvertebrates and identify them. 

Fee for each class: $10, waived for Audubon Naturalist Society members and students earning SSL 
credit. Click here to find out more about the program and classes. Registration required. Click here to access the registration form.

The next sampling session is in July.  Become a volunteer now and enjoy an informative and productive creek wading session that helps maintain the environment of Rock Creek Park.

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