Over his two years as an OSM/VISTA in southwest Virginia, Josh Larsen provided or assisted in providing Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences to 4,821 K-12 students.
He presented environmental education activities at many partner events, such as Kids in the Creek, Natural Resources Awareness Days, Envirothon, Agricultural Awareness Days, and Water Wizard Week. He coordinated 2011 Guest River Education Day at Clear Creek for Wise County 4th grade students and assisted in coordinating a home school education day at White's Mill. Josh's work in developing and conducting environmental education has made a significant impact on almost 5,000 students who are the next generation of environmental stewards.
OSM/VISTA Megan Baskerville (PA) with Crooked Creek Watershed Association/Evergreen Conservancy has been working with the Evergreen Conservancy's volunteer base on the Conservancy's water monitoring program, which uses dataloggers.
Dataloggers are small instruments deployed in streams to "log data" (pH, conductivity, flow) every 15 minutes. They are permanently stationed in the stream, and volunteers collect that data every two weeks. To initially install a datalogger in a stream, fence posts are hammered into the stream bed, and then PVC pipe is attached to the post which houses and protects, the data logger. The dataloggers have to be visited every two weeks so that the data can be downloaded.
Most of the volunteer base for Evergreen Conservancy is comprised of senior citizens. Senior citizens that carry 20 pounds of fence posts, 15 pound sledge hammers, 10 pounds of tools and supplies down slippery, steep stream banks into cold, fast moving streams. Then the actual work begins- pounding in the post and attaching metal bands and wires.
"This work takes strength. I was amazed and humbled by the amount of physical work that these volunteers are doing," said Baskerville.