Thank you to everyone who joined us for our “virtual” Summer 2020 Pathogens Monitoring Training on Monday April 20. We learned the “how-tos” of monitoring from Jessica Bonamusa with the Interstate Environmental Commission, and Michele Bakacs with Rutgers Extension / Middlesex County EARTH Center provided an overview of 2019 data findings.
You can view the Webex recording here. If prompted, please enter password: Pathogens2020
We hope to open up sign-ups for Thursday monitoring starting mid-May.
Below are answers to commonly asked questions about responsibilities and time commitment of a volunteer pathogens monitor:
Q: Do I need boots, waders, or other equipment?
A: Boots, yes. And clothing appropriate for the weather, and clothing that will provide sun protection. Also: bug spray and a hat. We always ask volunteers to bring water and a snack. We have several sets of waders of different sizes that we can loan. And we have all other supplies.
Q: What time does the sample collecting begin and end?
A: We typically kick off between 8-9 AM. We meet at the Piscataway site, then caravan to the New Brunswick site, where some folks leave their cars. We then carpool to the remaining sites. Going from site to site takes about 4-5 hours depending on traffic. We then travel to Staten Island to take the samples to the lab. Depending on interest in the lab, we may stay as long as an hour to orient volunteers to what is going on there.
We generally return to the New Brunswick site by about 3pm.
Q: What about lunch?
A: Sometimes we grab a bite at a local restaurant either on Staten Island or in Perth Amboy. Please be sure to bring plenty of snacks to keep your energy up throughout the day. And don’t forget your water!
Q: Does everyone doing the collecting on a given day go to all the sites?
It is not always the case that all volunteers join us for the whole day. Some people choose just to help out with the sampling, and do not join us for the trip to Staten Island.
Q: What would I do as a volunteer monitor?
A: You will always have a team leader with the volunteers. The team leader is generally joined by three additional people. That seems about the right number of hands to do the work and help us keep to our schedule. In the field folks are absolutely given tasks! This includes recording site observation data, labeling sample bottles, taking samples (which can involve suiting up in waders), using the probe and documenting that data, keeping everything organized. This is quality controlled work and we do not send out volunteers on their own. The more hands the better and the faster things go. We ask folks to sign up for specific dates, and ask that they commit to going out with us for the full day.