FLOW New Citizen Scientist Training
By Michelle Miller

Joana Tavares lectures on the purpose and importance of proper
methods of collecting water samples from the bridge over the tidal
inlet. Photo by Michelle Miller.
Amigos de Bolsa Chica held its biannual FLOW Citizen Scientist Training on October 6, 2017. The training was led by Citizen Science Advisor and creator of FLOW, Joana Tavares, also an Earth Science graduate student from UCI.

Joana Tavares teaches new Citizen Scientists how to analyze the
phytoplankton content in the water samples taken from the tidal
inlet and the walkbridge in the wetland. Photo by Michelle Miller.

The three-hour training began with a general overview on the importance of citizen science and the work we do at Amigos. Training continued outdoors and the volunteers learned how to sample the water at the tidal inlet using tools such as a refractometer and a plankton net. Afterwards, we relocated to the wetlands, where Joana and Jerry Donohue, President of Amigos, talked briefly about the history and ecology of the area. We finished up the training at the Visitor Center, where Joana went into detail about phytoplankton and algal blooms. Much enthusiasm was expressed, especially because there had been recent phosphorescent blooms in the area at night.

Out of the ten volunteers that we trained that day, we acquired three dedicated FLOW volunteers: Annie Daw, Gina Lumbruno, and Karen Thomas. The three citizen scientists have been volunteering every Friday since the training and we couldn’t be any more grateful for their enthusiasm for our organization. The Fall FLOW training also gave us a new docent, Kim DiPasquale. He has been to several FLOW Fridays, completed the whole docent training, and will be leading tours soon.

If you are interested in becoming a FLOW Citizen Scientist and want to join in on the plank-TONS of fun, or just want to learn more about the program, e-mail flow@amigosdebolsachica.org. We sample the water at the tidal inlet and wetlands on Fridays and we pass on our knowledge to students 2-3 times a month. We also send our data with the California Department of Public Health to ensure the safety of the public and its coastal waters.