Just now, I was curled up at my desk making what will hopefully be the final edits to my volunteer training manual. My mind was consumed with the details of the citizen science program I have been developing, thinking of how I was going to procure measuring wheels and who I might contact at the Volunteer Management Office to start the recruitment process and whether I’d be able to cross the canal tomorrow to do a final test of the protocol after the heavy rains this week. It was only when my supervisor swept in and delivered my MIS welcome package that I realized I actually haven’t been here at Cuyahoga Valley all that long. I’ve learnt and done so much since I’ve arrived that it doesn’t seem possible I have only been here for four weeks.
My main project, developing and implementing a pilot citizen science program to monitor social trails in the park, is progressing quickly. I have reviewed the research, developed my protocols, defined my scope, mapped my trails, and within the next day I’ll be finalizing my Job Hazard Analysis, Position Description, Volunteer Agreement, and Volunteer Training Manual so I can start the recruitment process next week! As for water quality testing, those old, long unused lab skills that had been rusty when I first started have finally come back to me. My responsibilities include checking the USGS gage readings as well as running the tests in lab on my own sample, so a side effect of my water quality work this summer is that I’ve unintentionally become a loud advocate for USGS’s NowCast service among my family and friends. It’s about that time of year when the lake starts warming and people are eager to get out in the water. If anyone around me wants to go swimming, though, they’ll have to get through me, my phone, and a NowCast status check first.