Mid-Year Check-in for AWW Water Monitors

July 1 marked the midpoint of the year and, as we enter the second half of the year, just in case your New Year’s Resolution was to be very consistent with your Alabama Water Watch monitoring, this is a good point to check out your data. You can make sure all the data you have collected has been entered and is appearing in AWW Water Data.

This is an excellent time to ask yourself how you have progressed towards reaching your monitoring goals. Have you gone out as frequently as you had planned? If you wanted to add a new sampling site, did you do it? If you have not achieved your mid-year goals, take some time to reflect, and consider why, so you can adjust accordingly.

Here are some questions you may ask yourself mid-way through each year:

  • What are some of my personal monitoring goals?
  • Is my monitoring activity meeting my monitoring group and AWW expectations?
  • What have I enjoyed about my monitoring experience so far this year?
  • What are the obstacles that keep me from being a consistent monitor and/or monitoring as frequently as I had hoped?
  • How would I describe what is happening with my participation as an AWW monitor?
  • What are some exceptional things I have done this year related to water monitoring?
  • What mistakes have I made so far and what lessons have I learned?
  • How has my perspective on water changed since I started monitoring? What about in the last six months?
  • What new skills have I developed?
  • Have I fostered new relationships through water monitoring?

Asking yourself if there are any things you could have done differently to improve your consistency or experience monitoring is one of the best ways to have a positive next half of the year. Exchanging experiences with your fellow monitors is a great way to learn new tips and improve everybody’s monitoring techniques.

If you are part of a larger group, keep in touch with the other monitors and consider teaming up or sharing sites. That way, if you must miss a month of monitoring you will have backup.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

If you are the only monitor for your site, there are many things that can cause you to miss a monitoring event, like horrific migraines and cars going kaput! We are all human. Nevertheless, being upfront with yourself about anything you could do to prevent missed events or creating a backup plan is a great way to adjust at midyear and set your monitoring goals up for a successful second half.

CHECK OUT “MY MONITORING ACTIVITY”

The AWW online database can help you constantly visualize how your monitoring activity is going. At any time when you login into your AWW account, click the My Monitoring Activity button and review if we have received all the data you have collected. After clicking that button, a page opens displaying your monitoring sites on a map; and above that map, you may click another button labeled Monitor Activity.  

This will open a graph showing bars representing the number of your water data records received at AWW from each one of the last 12 months. Something similar to the image below displaying the activity of a volunteer who regularly monitors at two sites for water chemistry and bacteria. In that graph, the monitor can see that we have received two water chemistry and two bacteria records each month. Just like the previous six months. Of course, if you notice bars missing in some months, please check your field data records. If you have data from dates that are not shown in the graph, we are missing that data. Please resend it to AWW.  

Midyear is the perfect time to make sure you check in with your friends at AWW. For us, it is critical to let you know that AWW does not take volunteers for granted. AWW values every volunteer monitor and we want you to share with us any plans or new initiatives you have scheduled for the second half of the year. We are here to listen to your concerns; we want to provide recommendations and look together to the future:  

  • What would make the next 180 days successful for you?  
  • What kind of support do you need to achieve your goals?  
  • What steps are you willing to take to attain these goals?  
  • Do your personal monitoring goals align with your monitoring group goals?  

Well, since I am pretty much exhausted from a hectic week with office meetings, proposal writing, and prepping up for a workshop/seminar, I guess I better go out and monitor some of my streams.

Happy monitoring fellow monitor!