AWW Training Recaps: February in Auburn & Camp McDowell in March 

Newly certified Water Chemistry Monitors pose after their Field Day in Town Creek Park, Auburn, Alabama.
Photo Credit: Sydney Zinner

After two years of not being able to easily and safely train new monitors, AWW has been off to the races in 2022!  AWW staff recently led two hybrid AWW monitoring trainings that included self-paced, online courses and finished with an in-person field day. We have been very pleased with the new format. What began as a response to the pandemic is turning out to be a great fit for the program. We hope COVID is on its way out, but the new training model won’t go away.

Alabama Water Watch Training Stats as of April 1, 2022:

  • 16 Certification Trainings for New Monitors
  • 7 Recertification Session for Active Monitors
  • 7 led by AWW Volunteer Trainers
  • 246 Total Certifications Awarded

We are all ecstatic to see the high demand for AWW Training. We have heard a few trainees remark that they have been “waiting for two years to be trained”. We appreciate their patience! We also feel that the work we put into the online courses in 2021 has paid off, making it possible to meet the demand for training more quickly. There are three AWW Online Courses.

1) Intro to Alabama Water Watch

2) AWW Water Chemistry Monitoring

3) AWW Bacteriological Monitoring

The Intro to AWW course is a prerequisite to the Water Chemistry and Bacteriological Monitoring Courses. Short videos and quiz questions help to convey background information related to the AWW Program, the water environment, pollution, and the specific monitoring types. They are self-paced. In other words, you can do a little each day or finish them all in one sitting as long as they are completed by the deadline.

Auburn University Department of Curriculum and Teaching students learn to test water chemistry.
Photo Credit: Mona Dominguez

In February, AWW Staff held two Water Chemistry Monitoring and one Bacteriological Monitoring Field Sessions in Auburn, AL. February trainees included residents from Lake Eufaula, Lake Martin, and Lake Harding. In addition to Auburn and Opelika locals, municipal employees, teachers, university students, and Alabama 4-H agents were in the mix.  

A Lake Martin-area AWW volunteer shared his set up for the perfect lake-side monitoring station.
Photo Credit: Sydney Zinner

The City of Auburn sponsored the February 18th Field Day, and members of the Watershed Division provided lunch. Dusty Kimbrow, City of Auburn Watershed Coordinator, made a presentation about how citizens can identify and report illicit discharges. You will find details about his presentation in separate AWWareness Blog article.

In March, AWW Staff headed to the northwestern region of our state for a Water Chemistry Monitoring and Bacteriological Monitoring Field Day at Camp McDowell. Workshop partners included Camp McDowell, Wild Alabama, and the Alabama Rivers Alliance.

The Water Chemistry Monitoring session took place on the banks of Sloan Lake at Camp McDowell.
Photo Credit: Mona Dominguez

It was sponsored in part by our USDA Forest Service CitSci funded project that aims to build a network of AWW citizen scientists in the National Forests in Alabama (NFAL). Several monitors who were certified during the training will adopt NFAL sampling sites that are part of this project. Read more about the AWW- USFS Project that is allowing citizens to Discover Alabama’s Forests through AWW.

Camp McDowell Field Day participants included a few of our colleagues with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, teachers, residents of Smith Lake and Lake Martin, the Director of McDowell Environmental Center, and Wild Alabama staff.  

So far, participants in the hybrid trainings have given us positive feedback about their experience. AWW Staff have enjoyed having more time during the in-person sessions to get to know knew volunteers, answer their questions, and help them explore potential monitoring sites. If you’re interested in getting trained, check out our latest offerings on the AWW Events page.