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Upcoming mentoring events offer chance to experience citizen science world

NGRREC staff and volunteers collect stream invertebrates in a net. (NGRREC photo)

Learn what it takes to monitor a stream as an Illinois RiverWatch volunteer at an upcoming mentoring event this fall.

Illinois RiverWatch, a part of Lewis and Clark Community College’s National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, will host two opportunities: One on Wednesday, Sept. 27 in Swansea, and the other on Thursday, Oct. 6 in Godfrey.

An Illinois RiverWatch volunteer looks for water bugs in a sample. (Photo by Caroline Teter)

RiverWatch mentoring events are intended for volunteers to get their feet wet before diving into the training workshops to become a full-fledged RiverWatch community scientists.

“Since I was a kid, I’ve been flipping stones in the water to learn about the animals that live there,” said RiverWatch Director and Coordinator, Danelle Haake, Ph.D. “Now, I do this as part of my job, and I get to teach others to find these animals and learn how important they are to river health.”

Participants will learn from a RiverWatch staff member how to use a stream’s physical characteristics to conduct a habitat survey and collect macroinvertebrates (water bugs) for a biological survey. These data are used to understand stream health to help us protect our local habitats.

“We are excited to be able to bring people out to participate in these events,” Haake said. “They are great opportunities to find out if you want to learn more about water quality and RiverWatch monitoring.”

These events are also great opportunities for experienced RiverWatch community scientists to get extra practice and refresh their RiverWatch methods.

For more information, or to register for an event, visit or email

Space is limited to ensure that all can participate fully in the mentor experience.

About National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠)

NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them, facilitating the efficient implementation of science into policy and to practice. Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, the center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.


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