Clary Lake now has 3 volunteer water monitors certified by the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitor Program: David Hodsdon #HO-0042, Jack Holland #HO-0551, and as of last Friday 11 July 2014, myself (George Fergusson) #FE-2648. I’ve been meaning to pursue certification for some time but finally found the time and initiative to do so. At this time I’m only certified/qualified to collect secchi disk readings and surface-grab Total Phosphorus tests, but I plan to get qualified later this summer on the use of the Association’s YSI Pro20 digital dissolved oxygen meter and the more comprehensive core water sample technique for phosphorus.
I was particularly impressed with the time and effort the VLMP puts into educating and training new volunteer water monitors, and with the seriousness with which they approach their work. The certification workshop started at 9 AM at the VLMP headquarters in Auburn and lasted about 3 hours which consisted of a very comprehensive and informative talk given by Scott Williams of the VLMP. This was followed by about an hour and a half out on Lake Auburn getting actual hands-on experience making secchi disk readings under Scott’s direct supervision. The Maine VLMP is a non-profit organisation whose primary work involves data collection and management. They take this task very seriously: to insure the quality (and hence the value) of their data they have strict protocols for data collection and require periodic re-certification of all volunteer water monitors.
For now I’ll be helping David and Jack collect Clary Lake water quality data. Eventually I’ll take David’s place on the team when he’s decided he’s done this long enough. He started in 1975 and has been doing it 39 years. I’m pretty sure he’s shooting for an even 40.