Our water quality programs at Anacostia Riverkeeper are built on community science, also known as citizen science. We recruit a diverse group of volunteers from all across the Anacostia watershed each year to help us collect samples and investigate our waterways to track their health. In the Anacostia, we focus on monitoring bacteria levels, which is the main concern in order to make waters safe and healthy for recreation.
Unlike traditional science programs, community science refocuses the scientific process in the communities we serve. Our programs aim to inform local communities about the health of their waterways. So, it only makes sense to involve our community through all stages of the program – from site selection and field sampling to data sharing and communication.
Community science provides an opportunity for citizens to actively participate in environmental protection and conservation. By being involved in the monitoring process people become more aware of the importance of clean water and feel a greater sense of connection to their environment. It also ensures an avenue for the voices of our community to be heard to direct our work and decision making.
By involving the community, we can monitor a wider region across the watershed and create a sustainable monitoring program. Last year, we engaged over 90 volunteers and monitored 17 sites on the Anacostia in DC, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County. Without our volunteer monitors, collection of this data would not be possible!
The data our community scientists collect provides up-to-date, accurate information about the Anacostia’s water quality that is vital to the restoration of the river. This data is useful in three main ways:
Participating in community science is an easy way to become involved in your local environment – anyone can become a community scientist. There’s no experience or skills required. We provide training to teach monitors about the water quality in our waterways and how to collect water quality samples. Volunteers can sign up for as many or as few weeks as they want.
We encourage everyone to get involved in our community science programs! As a volunteer water quality monitor, you will:
We’d love to have you join our monitoring team! Check out our Water Quality Monitoring page to learn more about our programs and sign-up to be a volunteer monitor!
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