USA Volunteer Water Monitoring Network


COVID-19 has changed the world. Guidance of the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and State and Federal governments should drive all volunteer water monitoring and citizen science program efforts. Nonetheless, many questions remain of what may be suitable steps for programs to take as stay at home orders are eased. This page will be used to share ideas and resources generated by practitioners from across the volunteer monitoring network, the broader field of citizen science, and beyond. The information and links shared on this page are meant to help people to understand what ideas, plans and resources others have across this broad network of programs, and to broaden our ability to communicate with one another across geographies.


July 8

July 8, 2020 Webinar: Panel Discussion: Offering Volunteer Trainings During COVID

Image of first slide from July 8, 2020 webinar on volunteer trainings during COVID.

In response to a follow up survey from the April 21 webinar (see below), Jill Carr and Kris Stepenuck hosted a panel discussion with four veteran volunteer monitoring program directors who have held and/or who were planning additional volunteer trainings during COVID. They each described their trainings, and shared advice they have from challenges and successes they faced. These lightning round-style presentations were followed by a question and answer session. Speakers were: 

  • Mona Dominguez, Program Director, Alabama Water Watch, Auburn University
  • Julie Vastine, Director, Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM), Dickinson College
  • Barb Horn, Water Resource Specialist, River Watch of Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Jason Frenzel, Volunteer and Stewardship Coordinator, Huron River Watershed Council

June 3

June 3, 2020 Webinar: Volunteer Field Work Town Hall
This webinar was hosted by the Citizen Science Association.

Image of first slide of the June 3, 2020 webinar about volunteer field work during COVID.

Jenelle Dowling, PhD, Scientific Director, Adventure Scientists
Kristine Stepenuck, PhD, Extension Assistant Professor, University of Vermont

Overview: Kris shared a summary of ideas that were generated from the April 21 webinar (see below) and early results of a survey of those who participated in that webinar to help webinar participants understand what modifications or decisions programs have made about volunteer water monitoring programs’ field seasons, and impacts of COVID. Jenélle then shared a case study from Adventure Scientists as an example with more in-depth information about decisions made and actions taken to train and engage volunteers safely. The session closed with an open town-hall-style question and answer session.

April 21

April 21, 2020 Webinar: Citizen-based Aquatic Field Sampling in the Time of COVID-19

Jill Carr, with MassBays National Estuary Partnership and Kris Stepenuck, with the University of Vermont, Lake Champlain Sea Grant and UVM Extension hosted the following webinar on April 21, 2020.

The webinar provided an overview of planned actions from several volunteer water monitoring programs, and participants co-developed the Google spreadsheet to include tips to keep volunteers and staff safe, and resources from a variety of programs and organizations. This spreadsheet has continued to be updated through the 2020 spring and summer as new materials and resources have become available.

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