Become a Volunteer

How do I get involved?

To get started as a WAV volunteer, you must 1) complete the Online Introduction to WAV course, and 2) attend a 4-6 hour in-person field training at a stream near you! In-person field trainings are held throughout the state from late April–May and combine classroom instruction with hands-on field training to teach you how to measure the six WAV parameters of stream health. You may have a local WAV coordinator based in your area who can tell you when local trainings are scheduled, or you can check our Events page to see upcoming training sessions. We typically post our spring training schedule in late February.

Additional information can be found in this factsheet, “How to get started as a volunteer.”

What is the time commitment?

Before you begin monitoring, WAV will teach you about the scientific tools and techniques that you’ll use. After the initial 4-6 hour field training, you can expect to spend 1.5 – 2 hours per month monitoring your local stream from May to October.

Where will I monitor?

A WAV volunteer monitors one or more sites as an individual or part of a 2–3 person team. Volunteers monitor streams and rivers that can be safely entered while wearing hip waders. Many volunteers choose a site based on their personal interest or proximity to their home or school or they work with a local WAV coordinator who has a list of stream sites that need water quality data. Some programs work with local and state agencies to coordinate monitoring locations.

I’m ready to take the first step. Now what?

To become a WAV volunteer, first take our online training course. You will learn more about the program, the science behind stream health and the process of data collection. While a prerequisite for taking the in-person training, the course does not obligate you to become a stream monitor—although we hope you’ll be hooked! Anyone interested in learning more about water quality may take the course.