Steve and I took an hour or so yesterday to attend a training session on water quality monitoring on the Commencement Bay waterfront. The training was presented by the South Sound chapter of Surfrider and the lead facilitator was Johnny Devine, a science instructor at the Science and Math Institute (SAMi), a public high school here in Tacoma.
Johnny went over the sampling methods and introduced the participants to the collection areas that are being monitored. Several of the volunteers present were interested in setting up new monitoring stations near their homes while others expressed an interest in helping with data collection at the existing sites.
Although the Ikkatsu Project has not been involved in water quality issues to this point, we felt that it was important to see what kinds of things are being discussed and how the testing was conducted. If there’s one central fact that has emerged from our work so far it is that everything is connected. While we are still focused on the issue of marine debris and the effects that marine plastic has on our environment, we are aware of the connections between one issue and another, whether they are immediately visible or not. Pollution, overfishing, heavy metals, displacement of fishing communities and the effects of climate change on ocean currents are all on our radar to some extent, and we’re interested in exploring how they interact.
The citizen science aspect of this project appeals to us as well, not only because Ikkatsu is focused on citizen science itself, but because we are always looking for new ways to link scientific issues with the people that are affected by them. People only truly value what they know and any effort to increase that knowledge is a positive thing.
Steve shot video of the training and we’ll have it posted here soon. It’s a reminder to all of us to look for ways that we can be involved in our local area to help make our waters cleaner and safer for all. Thanks to Surfrider and SAMi for the work they are doing!