Helping Hands to Monitor the Bay

Posted on Apr 30, 2013

Can you imagine willingly immersing your hands in 42-degree water? Every year, citizen scientists from Cape Elizabeth to Phippsburg do just that from April through October. About 75 of your neighbors test for dissolved oxygen, water temperature, salinity, water clarity, and pH, to help Friends of Casco Bay assess the health of Maine’s coastal waters.

Eighteen volunteers underwent training this spring to become the newest water quality monitors for Friends of Casco Bay’s 22nd monitoring season. The five-hour training session led by Peter Milholland, Citizen Stewards Coordinator, provided a hands-on introduction to EPA-certified sampling methods. Peter says, “These citizen scientists are a critical part of our research staff. Without our volunteers, we could never have achieved the level of knowledge about Casco Bay that we have today.”

One of these volunteers, Sally Tubbesing, became a water quality monitor as a result of attending our Wild & Scenic Film Festival. In her volunteer profile she stated, “I am interested in getting involved in a local organization that is committed to sustaining and improving the quality of the natural environment that we too often take for granted in Maine.” After the training, Sally wrote to Peter “to tell you how good the workshop was…lots of material, but it was well organized, and the opportunity for the hands-on ‘walk-through’ of the procedure was terrific! I am sure that you have done it now many times, but it was impressive!”