Posts Tagged ‘volunteer training’
Interested in chasing storms?
The City of Ann Arbor is offering a unique opportunity for residents to participate in collecting needed data as part of the recently-launched Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis project, which is the first step in evaluating and recommending improvements to the City’s stormwater system. (Read more about the project here.)
As part of the City of Ann Arbor’s “Citizen Storm Corps,” you would be the eyes on the ground, recording and submitting visual observations from one or more of the Large Event Data Gathering (LEDG) locations where the City is monitoring surface flooding. (See a map of LEDG locations here.) “Large Events” is the technical term for a big rain storm!
Volunteering is easy, fun, and will not require much time. If you can take a photo and use a map, you’re qualified! The City anticipates that over the next few years, Storm Corps volunteers will be asked to submit observations 1-3 times after significant rain events – although more frequent participation would be most welcome, if you choose.
The City of Ann Arbor is hosting several orientation sessions for people who may be interested in serving as part of the Citizen Storm Corps:
- Tuesday, March 19: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Downtown Library multipurpose room
- Tuesday, March 19: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Traverwood Library
- Thursday, March 21: 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. at the Downtown Library multipurpose room
No need to RSVP – please feel free to join at your convenience during any of the above blocks of time (the actual orientation will only take about a half hour). Also, please note that attending an orientation does not obligate you to participate – come by, check it out, and see what you think!
Finally, if you are not able to attend one of the sessions, but think you might be interested in volunteering in the Citizen Storm Corps, simply contact Jen Lawson at the City of Ann Arbor (734.794.6430 x43735, email@example.com). She will help you identify a convenient location, and orient you to the materials via phone or email.
- A beautiful Huron River, where it crosses Zeeb Road. credit: John Lloyd
- Dave Wilson samples Woods Creek! credit: Nate Antieau
- Digging through the muck of Port Creek. credit: Mark Schaller
- A quick break for the camera! credit: John Lloyd
- "Do you see anything?" credit: John Lloyd
Bring on the “brrr!”
On January 26, 110 intrepid volunteers faced the harsh winter elements and spread across the Huron River watershed in search of stoneflies, which are only found in clean and healthy streams. Everyone made it back safe, which is the number one priority, and it seemed that a good time was had by all.
In 2012 the Stonefly Search volunteers had to deal with melting snow and flood conditions, but this year we had a deep freeze in the week preceeding the Search, and most of the teams had to break their way through the ice in order to sample the stream macroinvertebrates. Despite this challenging problem, stoneflies were found in great abundance at many locations. The results are in, and are given in this pdf report.
1. The status quo is being maintained for most of the sampling sites. Sites that have had stoneflies in the past are still able to support them, and sites that were not healthy enough to hold stoneflies still do not have them. That being said, we did see a few changes this year which are detailed below.
2. Four sites had the best stonefly samples that had ever been seen at those locations: Chilson Creek at Chilson Road, Fleming Creek at Galpin Road, the Huron River at Flat Rock, and Woodruff Creek at Buno Road. At each of these sites, the stoneflies normally found at the location were there, but also new stonefly families were found that had never been seen there before! A greater diversity of stoneflies indicates greater stream health. These are promising results and hopefully it will continue into longer term trends.
3. The team searching for stoneflies in Woods Creek in Belleville came back disappointed. Wood’s Creek at the Lower Huron Metropark has been sampled 12 times since 1997, and this is the first time that stoneflies could not be found. The problem likely comes from the thick ice and difficult conditions rather than pollution or disturbed stream habitat, but we will keep an eye on Wood’s Creek next year.
4. Traver Creek is a stream in north Ann Arbor that has typical urban stream problems- in particular, flashy flows and runoff, oil, and sediment from roads. In the past couple of years, part of the train track berm washed out and released a large plume of sediment to Traver Creek. However, we were pleased that both of the sites sampled on Traver Creek this year turned up stoneflies. The sites were both upstream and downstream of the wash-out.
Next on the horizon!
Interested in doing more with our macroinvertebrate searches? Think about becoming a trained leader or collector by coming to the next training on March 24. This is an extremely important job because every team needs both a trained leader and collector, and we often do not have enough to meet the demand. Sign up for the training!
After a record-breaking March and a more typically cool April, we don’t know what we’ll find out in the field this spring! I’ve seen trilliums blooming (usually they come out in late May) just uphill of freshly sprouting skunk cabbage (usually a harbinger of early spring in early April). I can’t wait to get our annual Bioreserve Field Assessment season started!
Join us in surveying the woods and wetlands in the Huron watershed!
WHAT: Volunteers go out in groups to work together on rapid site assessments of grasslands, forests, wetlands, and aquatic habitats throughout the spring, summer and fall (an expected time commitment of four hours per site).
Volunteers must first attend a training where you learn how you can help identify high-quality natural areas for protection as part of the Bioreserve Project. Participants will gain broadly applicable skills in ecological assessment. Please bring a sack lunch. The workshop includes hands-on practice outdoors, so please come prepared for weather and mud.
WHO: All volunteers are welcome, but if you are experienced in plant identification, we especially need your help! Every team will need at least one “plant person” (someone who has some experience with identifying plants). If you have had a plant identification class, or have become familiar with wildflowers, grasses, and trees over time spent hiking this beautiful watershed, we’d love your help! “Plant People” do not need to attend the training; all other volunteers do.
WHERE: The next training will be at Independence Lake County Park. After attending training, volunteers use the Volunteer Page to sign up to go to natural areas throughout the Huron Watershed throughout the field season.
WHEN: Training session:Rapid Field Assessment Training Saturday, May 12, 2012 10 am – 3pm Independence Lake County Park Whitmore Lake, MI
2012 Field season: May – October 2012.
MORE INFO: Contact Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-769-5123 x 607.
If you are a first time volunteer, you need to first go to our First time volunteer form
Then, you can register with the Bioreserve Rapid Field Assessment Training Registration form
Michigan’s Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program enters its 39th field season!
One of my jobs at the Huron River Watershed Council is to serve as a manager for the state of Michigan’s volunteer lake monitoring program, the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP). The CLMP has been around since 1974… that is an impressive length of time!
Since that first year, the thousands of volunteers across Michigan have:
- Taken 92,185 secchi disk measurements
- Grabbed 4,274 water samples for phosphorus analysis
- Filtered 5,956 water samples for chlorophyll
- Made 2,023 observations of the dates that ice melted off their lakes
- Measured dissolved oxygen and temperature 52,290 times and created 3,486 dissolved oxygen and temperature lake profiles
- Searched 17 lakes for exotic plants and mapped out full plant communities on 12 lakes.
All of this delicious data is entered by our volunteers and staff into a publicly accessible and searchable database!
In total, 827 inland lake basins have been monitored through one test or another through the CLMP. Michigan lake volunteers have contributed about 57,400 hours of work, not counting the time spent driving samples to State offices and going to trainings. Assuming field technicians across this time period would make an average of $9/hour, that means these volunteers have donated well over a half a million dollars in labor.
If you live on a lake, HRWC wants you to care for it and do what you can to keep it healthy. The first step is to figure out what is going on beneath the surface, and the CLMP can help you do this. It is not too late to sign up for the entry parameters: secchi disk and summer phosphorus. Register now for the 2012 field season!
Some of you may not know that the HRWC is well-known throughout the Region for their excellent work in protecting the Huron and the Great Lakes. That’s why I count it an enormous opportunity to work as an intern with them this spring and summer.
Let me introduce myself. I’m Josh Miller, a graduate student at U of M. I’ve been working with Ric Lawson to develop more substantial information about bacterial contamination throughout the watershed. We have developed pages to help residents understand what bacterial contamination is, how it’s measured and why bacteria levels matter. We have also dedicated a page to the typical sources of contamination and what residents can do about it. A quick tip: celebrate Scoop Poop month by grabbing a baggy on your way out the door to walk your pet.
I’ve also been working on a bacterial contamination impairment in Honey Creek that was discovered by the MDEQ and by HRWC volunteer water monitors in recent years. We kicked off the Honey Creek project in November to make a plan for identifying the likely sources of contamination and to develop Honey Creek’s own Watershed Management Plan. In fact, as the study gets underway, we have planned a Stakeholder Meeting for March 29th at 6:00 pm at Scio Township Hall (827 N. Zeeb Rd.). This will give us a chance to present our current knowledge and our strategy for collecting data and developing solutions. It also gives residents of Honey Creekshed a chance to provide us with information and to ask questions. If you live or own a business in the creekshed (most residents of Scio Twp), please join us—no invitation required.
Winter Stonefly Search is Saturday, January 28, 2012. You’re invited to come on your own or bring a small team of friends and family for a unique wintertime activity in/on the Huron River.
As part of a long-term river study, each January, HRWC looks for “winter stoneflies,” which grow, feed, and find their mates in the coldest months when most fish are too sluggish to eat them. Stoneflies are very sensitive to changes in water quality and habitat. Like canaries in a coal mine, they tell researchers a lot about the health of the river.
Trained volunteer collectors take each team to two of HRWC’s 70 designated study sites throughout the Huron River system, where the group helps search through stones, leaves, and sediment taken from river bottoms. All equipment is provided. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather. Volunteers meet in Ann Arbor and car pool to their assigned sites.
Participants must register to be assigned to a team. Children are welcome to attend but must bring their own adult.
DATE: Saturday, January 28, 2012
WHERE: Meet in Ann Arbor. Then car pool to two streams in Livingston, Oakland, Wayne and/or Washtenaw Counties.
WHEN: Two starting times: January 28, 2012 at 10:30AM or NOON. Takes 4 – 5 hours (2-3 hours outdoors).
DEADLINE: Registration closes on January 20, 2012.
First time volunteers, please fill out both forms:
Returning volunteers, please fill out the registration form only:
MORE INFO: Please email Jason at email@example.com, or check out this article: http://www.annarbor.com/lifestyles/hrwcs-annual-winter-stonefly-search-a-chance-for-anglers-others-to-learn-about-stoneflies-and-stream/
Here it is! Your opportunity to learn about using native plants in your landscape at the height of the season.
Utilizing native plants in your yard can add a great deal of beauty as well as help the environment.
Our friends at the Huron Arbor Cluster of the Stewardship Network are hosting a series of classes on Wednesday evenings (7-9pm) in August (Aug 3-31) at the Leslie Science & Nature Center in Ann Arbor, taught by five local experts.
It’s a native plant extravaganza with each class covering such topics as the benefits of native plants; how to plan well for the easiest installation; about all the wonderful choices you have with native plants; how rainwater gardening can be beautiful, ecological, and economical; and what maintenance you will need to plan for and keep your new gardens beautiful!
You can REGISTER for individual classes $10/15 each or the whole series $40/60 (discount if you are a member of the Stewardship Network).
I took this series of classes when they were offered a few years ago in March and they were AMAZING! The experts were incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic and shared some terrific resources. If you have any inkling of trying native plants in your garden, or creating a rain garden, you really don’t want to miss this.
HRWC is thrilled to announce that the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA), also called the Metroparks, will be using our Bioreserve project’s field assessment methodology to assess the natural areas in their park system. A University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment Master’s Project study recommended HRWC’s method over four other methods they studied.
On June 15, HRWC conducted a field training for the HCMA Natural Resource Department staff. HCMA will work with their staff and volunteers as well as HRWC Bioreserve staff and volunteers to assess all of their natural area properties. HCMA will use the HRWC database entry system, which will generate scores and reports for each assessment. The data will be used by HCMA to create management plans for their natural areas, including plans for invasive species management.
If you like hiking, identifying native plants, and learning about the watershed’s ecology, check out our Field Assessment Volunteer page, or contact Kris Olsson. You too could join a team to hike a nearby wetland or forest either in HCMA parks or other natural areas throughout the watershed!
One of the sure signs of Spring is here — and early this year! On Saturday, over 30 volunteers will get trained to participate in HRWC’s Water Quality Monitoring Program. The volunteers will learn how to measure the flow and scientifically sample the water from tributaries in Livingston and Washtenaw Counties. Samples are then analysed by labs at the City of Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant and City of Brighton Waste Water Treatment Plant for key components such as phosphorus, sediments and bacteria. We use this data to better understand where pollutants are coming from and how effective actions by HRWC, partner communities and individuals have been at reducing these pollutants.
So far, the results have been good. Several key tributaries were identified for needed stormwater projects. Phosphorus has decreased since 2003 (when the program began), and more so in tributaries where investments have been made to improve stormwater infrastructure and reduce pollutant sources. New results are just coming in for Livingston sites (most sites just started getting sampled last year), and monitoring in 2010 should help identify issues in that part of the watershed.
If you are planning to join Saturday’s training, please be aware that the location has been moved to Green Oak Township Hall. If you have not yet registered for the program, please do so before attending the training. We look forward to seeing you at the training Saturday and in the water this Spring and Summer.
Michigan State University Extension and its partners are offering this volunteer training and leadership program to those interested in natural resource conservation and ecosystem management, natural history, outdoor recreation, natural areas, the region’s environmental issues and challenges, and strategies to help restore and conserve ecosystems in Oakland County.
This intensive 10-week program consists of nine Monday evening classes (6-9 pm) and three Saturday field sessions (9-4 pm) from February 26 through April 25, 2011. Monday evening sessions are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Rd, Waterford. Saturday sessions will be held at the MSU Tollgate Education Center, Indian Springs Metropark, and Independence Oaks County Park. Registration fee is $275.
Obtain a brochure and an application packet online at http://www.oakgov.com/msu/ or call (248) 858-0887 to request an application by mail. The deadline to submit applications is February 4, 2011. Please call (248) 858-0887 for more information.