I believe that cultivating citizen scientists is the best way to make ecosystem monitoring and assessment more affordable, with the added benefit of educating communities about important watershed processes.
I began working with The Watershed Project as a contractor in 2014, hired to monitor the oyster restoration project at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park. I had also been working for one of The Watershed Project’s fiscally sponsored groups, the San Pablo Watershed Neighbors Education and Restoration Society (SPAWNERS), as a water quality monitor. My background is in aquatic biology and I had previously worked in research, managing a lab at UC Santa Barbara within the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology. The work was fascinating, but I missed being outdoors and connecting with people on the community level. I moved to the Bay Area in 2013 to pursue working with nonprofits, and in 2015 I was added as a staff member to both The Watershed Project and SPAWNERS.
I work on several programs, but the essence of my work is that I try to involve communities in their local watersheds through monitoring creek water quality, benthic macroinvertebrates, and Olympia oysters, as well as work on creek habitat restorationprojects. I am passionate about both the scientific and educational aspects of these programs, and my goal is to make science approachable and interesting to people of all ages.
As TWP celebrates its 20th anniversary , I would like to celebrate the network of connections that we have made within our Bay Area communities, and challenge us to do even more to reach these diverse residents and involve them in their local environments. On June 8, The Watershed Projectparticipated in Citizen Science Day at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento. The event introduced citizen science to those working at the CalEPA, allowed groups like ours to network and learn from each other, and screened episodes of PBS’s The Crowd and the Cloud, which documents the myriad ways in which technology is facilitating citizen science.
You too can get involved! The Watershed Project is partnering with Wholly H2O and the California Academy of Sciences for a BioBlitz on Saturday, July 1 at Point Pinole. We’ll be surveying oysters on the shoreline, as well as uploading photos of plants, birds and more to iNaturalist. Register here to do your part for citizen science!