When Alabama Water Watch was just getting started back in 1992, it operated quite differently than it does today. Bill Deutsch, AWW Director, has been in the picture since the beginning and remembers that first year of Water Watch as exciting but exhausting. People throughout Alabama were interested and enthusiastic about the possibilities of the statewide Water Quality Monitoring Program and as a result there was a great demand for the AWW workshops. At the time AWW only offered the Chemistry Water Monitoring Certification, and there were no citizen trainers. As a result Bill and co-founder Dr. Bill Davies (BD² as Bill and Bill were called back then) were on the road for 20 weekends per year!
2005 Training of Trainers Workshop held at AU
It did not take them long to realize that this was not a sustainable model for the AWW Program. In response they developed the role of Citizen Trainers. In 1995, the first Training of Trainers (ToT) Course was offered and 8 people participated. The newly formed AWW Association Board of Directors was the first group to be trained as Trainers through a several week process. From that point on the opportunities for citizens to become AWW Water Monitors grew exponentially. Last year, approximately 70% of all the AWW workshops were lead by citizen trainers. These individuals are making a great contribution to the continued protection and restoration of Alabama’s waters. It is no doubt that Citizen Trainers have played a vital role in making it possible for citizens throughout Alabama to collect and use data according to the AWW model for nearly 20 years. Thank you Trainers!
2007 ToT participants sporting GWW Macroinvertebrate Shirts
To be eligible to be an AWW Trainer, it is recommended that you be an active monitor for at least one year, participate in a Training of Trainers Workshop, and then fulfill two internships (assist and lead a workshop with an existing trainer). Once monitors become Trainers they agree to maintain their status by attending Trainer Refresher Course every two years, and by facilitating or helping with at least two workshops each year.
Trainer Refresher at Turkey Creek Preserve, Birmingham in 2011
This is a considerable commitment and many people may question why an individual would choose to make it. In that past year or so, at least eight monitors have taken their commitment to AWW to the next level by becoming Trainers. Matt Campbell, who lives in Dadeville, is one of those individuals and when asked why he had chosen to become an AWW Trainer he responded, “I’m happy to be doing more on the Lake (Martin). If there is more available for me to give, it makes my heart happy”. (That makes our hearts happy!)
Trainer Refresher at the Five Rivers Delta Center in 2011
With recent changes to funding, Citizen Trainers will play a more important role than ever in keeping AWW alive and well. On June 8th several current Trainers will be traveling to Auburn to participate in a Trainer Refresher session before the Annual Picnic (June 9th). If you are interested in becoming a trainer, please contact the AWW Office to let us know.