Sydney Smith, AWW trainer & monitor extraordinaire!

Sydney Smith is a welcome addition to the AWW family as both a monitor and a trainer. She started monitoring a couple of years back while pursuing her studies, a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Auburn University. She quickly pursued becoming an AWW trainer last year, and conducted her first Water Chemistry and Bacteriological Monitoring workshops last month! Her enthusiastic, altruistic spirit is evident from the moment you meet her!

The moment Sydney's interest in water resources began in Monkey Park, Opelika!
The moment Sydney’s interest in water resources began in Monkey Park, Opelika (note her levitation; a few years ago)!

Let’s get to know Sydney a little better:

1. Where do you call home?
Auburn Alabama is my home sweet home! I was born and raised in Auburn, and I would like to say that I bleed orange and blue! My dad went to school at Auburn University for Civil Engineering and decided to stay and settle down here. I’m sure glad he did! Auburn has been a great place to grow up and go to school. 

2. What stream, river, lake, bay, bayou is your favorite water-spot?
My favorite water-spot in our great state of Alabama is Lake Guntersville. My grandparents live on a farm just north of Guntersville Lake State Park in Langston, AL. I grew up camping with my grandparents on the shores of Lake Guntersville, catching fireflies, fishing and swimming. We have had several of our family reunions by the lake.

Sydney (behind the camera) and friends at the Parkerson Mill Creek outreach event at the Kappa Kolor Run in 2015.
Sydney (behind the camera) and friends at the Parkerson Mill Creek outreach event at the Kappa Kolor Run in 2015.

3. What water recreation/sports do you enjoy most?
I love kayaking, but I wish I could wake board! It just looks like so much fun. I have terrible balance, so wake boarding was never a good option for me! I would love to eventually kayak or canoe on all of Alabama’s beautiful rivers. I kayaked on the Coosa last summer, and I would really love to canoe the Cahaba and see the beautiful Cahaba lilies up close!

4. What got you interested in Alabama Water Watch?
When I was a kid, my dad would take me sampling on some of the creeks in Auburn. We would sample Moore’s Mill and Chewacla creeks with the AWW water chemistry kit. The sampling process and learning about the various water quality issues was fascinating to me.

Sydney sampling with Dad, Dewayne Smith - an unbeatable team!
Sydney sampling with Dad, Dewayne, on Parkerson Mill Creek in Auburn – an unbeatable team!

In spring of 2014, my sophomore year of college, I started working with ACES Water Resources (with the amazing Dr. Brantley!) and they requested that I get certified in bacteriological and water chemistry monitoring so I could start to sample on Parkerson Mill Creek. I have been monitoring ever since!

5. What are your biggest challenges/issues in your favorite watershed?
Some of the biggest issues on Parkerson Mill Creek (like most urbanized streams) include trash, erosion, and pathogens.

Sydney conducting AWW water chemistry testing at her first site.
Sydney conducting AWW water chemistry testing at her first site on Chewacla Creek.

Thanks to some amazing Auburn student groups, we have been able to pick up some of the trash, plant native species on the banks, and help restore portions of PMC.

6. Do you have some “lessons learned” that you could pass on to the rest of us relative to watershed stewardship?
One of the most important things is getting as many people from diverse educational/ environmental backgrounds involved in the issues of your watershed. Get together a great team, and you will be unstoppable!

Sydney exhibiting her ubiquitous smile as she wins the Snake Sighting Award at the 2015 AWW Annual Gathering.
Sydney exhibiting her ubiquitous smile as she wins the Snake Sighting Award at the 2015 AWW Annual Gathering.

 

6 Replies to “Sydney Smith, AWW trainer & monitor extraordinaire!”

  1. NIce to see so many people working to improve the water quality in the great state of Alabama. I will soon be a resident (again…….. I was born in Mobile and went to high school in Baldwin county… living on Hurricane Bayou.) If you live at the end of the watershed, you see how important the upstream stuff is. I am moving to Dadeville on Sandy creek shortly so I can be near my grandchildren in Auburn. I look forward to doing what small part I can to help improve the quality of the water in Alabama.

    KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!

  2. I’ve never met anyone like Sydney – she definitely makes the world a better place. I’m blessed to know her!

  3. The world would definitely be a better place if we had more Sydneys!!! Thanks for being a part of AWW and for being you!

  4. Another fine example of tomorrow’s water quality leaders. Proud of you, Sid.

    War Eagle!

  5. Sydney is a perfect example of why I’ve enjoyed working at Alabama Water Watch so much – she’s a giver! Her spirit of volunteerism gives me hope that, from generation to generation, high standards and principles live on.

    Thank you, Sydney, for all you do in your sphere of influence – which stretches a lot farther than you realize.

    p.s. I can’t wait to see that video of Aubie and Mary making it rain on the Enviroscape 😉

  6. Amazing work Sydney! So very proud of you and the Auburn team for protecting our most valuable resource, WATER! You are amazing!

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