Citizen scientist volunteers feted in Pomfret

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Pomfret - posted Mon., Dec. 9, 2013
Volunteers listen as Alexxia Ball talks turtles at the Audubon Society. Photos by D. Coffey.
Volunteers listen as Alexxia Ball talks turtles at the Audubon Society. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Pomfret hosted a Citizen Science Volunteer Appreciation Night on Dec. 4. Those volunteers who had participated in one of four projects in 2013 were included. “It’s time to say thank you," said program coordinator Paula Coughlin, as she rattled off their accomplishments. 

Twenty-four volunteers spent 91 volunteer hours collecting data on E.coli and nitrates in tributaries of the French River in Thompson. Thirty-five volunteers spent 107 volunteer hours collecting information on streams in Putnam and Thompson for river bioassessment studies. Forty-three volunteers spent 347 volunteer hours monitoring mammals in different transect areas in the region. Fifty-four volunteers spent 112 volunteer hours collecting data on vernal pool sites. And 10 volunteers spent 112 volunteer hours banding birds.

That core group of volunteers contributed some hard, reliable data to CSV Program Partners. Those partners include the Woodstock Conservation Commission, the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, the Rivers Alliance of Connecticut and the Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group. Their work has given towns and environmental organizations valuable information on the quality of our rivers and streams, the quantity and quality of vernal pools and proof of the presence of a variety of mammals in the area.
The information they’ve collected has also been used by the New Roxbury Land Trust and the New England Forestry Foundation, according to Coughlin.

For their 663 hours spent working on environmental projects, they were treated to tea, hot chocolate and baked goods. Then they spent the better part of an hour learning about turtles from Turtle Rescue League staff.

Elise Fortin of Putnam has been a volunteer for years working on CSV projects. “I absolutely love being outside and seeing new things,” she said. That night she got a chance to get close to Nibbles, a 13-pound snapping turtle. Fortin and the other volunteers were unfazed. It was one more chance to learn about the world that waits outside their doors.

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