Illinois –The Illinois RiverWatch Network is offering residents the chance to train to become citizen scientists and join the network of more than 750 volunteers throughout Illinois who monitor water quality of streams throughout the state.

RiverWatch is a statewide partnership of organizations and individuals working to protect Illinois streams and waterways. Established in 1995 as a sub-program of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Eco Watch Network, certified volunteers called “citizen scientists” examine
indicators like stream habitats and diversity of macroinvertebrate species to provide reliable water quality data that can be used by scientists to determine how the conditions of streams are changing over time. Today RiverWatch is a program of the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, a partnership among Lewis and Clark Community College, the University of Illinois and the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Since its founding in 1995, more than 1,700 individuals have received certification through RiverWatch, and 750 stream sites have been established for annual water quality sampling.

A series of volunteer training workshops will be held throughout the state this spring. The workshops will take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and combine both lecture/classroom time with field training in a local stream.

Registration is $50 per person and must be paid in advance of the workshop.

“As we learn more about the ecosystems that support life on this planet, we discover that in order to properly assess the quality of our streams and rivers we need watershed level data. Unfortunately, this need has increased at a time when state and local governments have seen the evaporation of funding for such monitoring. Where appropriate, RiverWatch Citizen Scientists can provide valuable and reliable data where none previously existed. As a program, volunteers are indispensible for the continued success of the program. As a source of knowledge, volunteers are similarly proving themselves a necessary and capable tool for us to learn more about the world around us.”

Training workshops are for volunteers who have received no training or partial training through RiverWatch programs and who wish to become a part of the certified network of volunteers throughout the state.

Anyone can become a volunteer, but registrants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

To register for a workshop, contact RiverWatch Coordinator Nate Keener at 618-468-2782 or nkeener@lc.edu. For more information about RiverWatch visit www.ngrrec.org/riverwatch.

2012 RiverWatch Volunteer Training Workshops:

Sat, March 24 John A. Logan College
700 Logan College Rd
Workforce Development Building
“H,” Room H-127
Park in Lot ‘B’
(618) 985-2828

Sat, March 31 Lewis and Clark Community College
5800 Godfrey Road
Haskell Hall, Room 101
Park in Student Parking in front
of
Haskell Hall
(618) 468-2782

Sat, April 14 John Wood Community
College
1301 South 48th Street
Building B
Park in front of the building
(217) 224-6500

Sat, April 14 Wabash Valley College
2200 College Drive
Science Building, Room 61
Park by the Science Building
(618) 262-8641

Sat, April 14 Carl Sandburg College
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
C Building, Room 101
Park in Lot C
(309) 344-2518

Sat, April 21 Benedictine University
1500 North Fifth Street
Dawson Hall Room D11
Park on Street
(217) 525-1420

Sat, April 21 University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street
Tower Hall, Room N111
Park in Main Lot behind Tower
Hall
(815) 740-3360

Sat, April 28 Black Hawk College
6600 34th Avenue
Building 2, Room 204
Park in Lot 1 in front of
Building 2
(309) 796-5000

Sat, April 28 Sugar Grove Nature Center
4532 North 725 East Road
(309) 874-2174

Sat, May 12 University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street
Tower Hall, Room N111?
Park in Main Lot behind Tower
Hall
(815) 740-3360

Sat, May 12 College of Lake County
19351 W Washington Street
Meet in C Wing, Room C225
Park in Lot 7
(847) 543-2000

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