Once a month, Randy Smith takes his bucket and tools and heads to the Pamunkey River to check the water quality. What he’s also doing is celebrating the world around him: “I get to actively do something for nature, something that, in my small way, is helping save the planet. ”
What Randy and other Riverines are doing is testing the clarity, bacterial load, acidity and dissolved oxygen in a specific part of a Virginia waterway, charting their findings and sending them on to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. “We get to choose our own section to test, and the site I chose is enormously peaceful and relaxing,” Randy said. “I’m also getting the intellectual stimulation of learning and performing the water quality tests and charting, so it’s a total win for me.”
“It’s so important to be on the front lines in helping improve the habitat for sea creatures, plant life and birds, “ Randy said. “By providing scientists with this data, we are able to alert them to problem areas so proper intervention can be taken. We are their first line of defense to protect the waters.”
Citizen science is a major emphasis for Virginia Master Naturalists, and Riverines – from bats to butterflies, bees to salamanders, skunks to birds to “invasives” there is a project just right for you.