Sign Up to Volunteer With RiverWatch (must enter email address to be contacted)
Use this form to sign up to become a RiverWatch Citizen Scientist or get involved with special RiverWatch volunteer opportunities. You can enter your and email below each opportunity you would like to sign up for. The RiverWatch coordinator will then contact you regarding your preferred volunteer opportunity for more details.
Sign up to become a trained RiverWatch Citizen Scientist by clicking the link below.
Sign up to become a trained RiverWatch citizen scientist (go to link above)
Summer, 2017: Elgin, IL—Lead RiverWatch stream monitoring activity with Park District youth program
Hanover Township runs a free summer nature activity for youth ages 5-18 from 2-3 pm at the Izaak Walton League Chapter House in Elgin, 899 Jay St, Elgin, IL 60120. RiverWatch is looking for a committed volunteer(s) to lead a RiverWatch stream monitoring activity for 1 hour on at least one of the above listed dates. The RiverWatch coordinator will work with any interested volunteers acquire necessary equipment and activity format. If interested, please enter your name and email address below.
September, 2017; Godfrey, IL--Assist with RiverWatch activities at Lewis and Clark Community College's annual Water Festival
Join in with RiverWatch staff and volunteers to demonstrate macroinvertebrate sampling and identification to local 5th grade students at the 2015 Water Festival. Student groups rotate through the RiverWatch booth every half hour from 9 am - 2 pm. Volunteers will help kids net macroinvertebrates, remove them into a tray, and identify them. Lunch and a free T-shirt is provided. If interested, please enter your name and email below.
October, 2017: Chicago, IL--Exhibit for RiverWatch at Citizen Science Fair
Represent the RiverWatch program by exhibiting at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Citizen Science Fair in Chicago, IL. The goal is to introduce people to the concept of Citizen Science and how they can become trained through the RiverWatch program to monitor Illinois streams. RiverWatch promotional materials will be mailed to anyone able to exhibit at this fair. If interested in exhibiting, please enter your name and email address below.
Join Mayfly Watch and observe Mayfly Emergence on the Mississippi River
.Every year, mayflies emerge from the Mississippi River, and the result can be extraordinary! These insects can swarm by the millions during a large emergence - enough to be picked up by weather radar. Mayflies are an important food source for fish, especially during the summer emergence but also throughout the year when they are in their larval form. Mayflies are also a public safety hazard when they swarm near lights on roads and bridges, as they can pile up and cause roads to be slick and dangerous for cars. The US Fish & Wildlife Service is interested in tracking the timing of seasonal events like these. Our hope is that our neighbors of the river, armed with their mayfly identification, will learn to notice the seasonal changes that occur on the river during the summer. Monitoring occurs along the Mississippi River between St. Louis, MO and St. Paul, MN from late spring through middle summer. If interested, please enter your name and email below.
Summer 2017 - 2019, Macoupin and Jersey Counties, IL. Assist RiverWatch partners and IDNR in collecting bottle water samples and vegetation data.
RiverWatch seeks the help of dedicated volunteers in Macoupin and Jersey Counties to help collect bottle water samples and vegetation measurements at specific microsites set up by the Illinois DNR and National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) beginning summer 2017 and continuing through 2019. The goal of this research is to measure specific water quality improvements in stormwater runoff gained from removing invasive Honeysuckle, which shades out native grasses and forbs, leaving bare soil. Project volunteers will visit these sites periodically to collect samples so being located Macoupin and Jersey Counties is important. Training and collection materials will be provided. To sign up, please enter your name and email in the space below.
Spring and Fall ongoing, Barrington, IL. Assist Barrington High School (BHS) Stream Monitoring Field Trips.
BHS Honor and Environmental AP Science classes will be performing chemical, biological and physical stream monitoring of Flint Creek five times during the school year as part of their Stream Ecology Curriculum. There will be 5 monitoring sites on Flint Creek with 2 adults and 25 – 30 students. Prior to the trip, students will be divided into 3 groups to perform designated monitoring tasks. Students will have some prior classroom knowledge of chemical, biological and physical stream monitoring. If interested in helping, please enter your name an email address below
June, 2018: Madison County, IL--Wood River Creek Watershed Monitoring and Cleanup
You are invited to join Illinois RiverWatch and One Mississippi on June 24th in Bethalto for water quality monitoring and trash pickup on Rocky Branch and West Fork of Wood River streams. These streams flow into Wood River Creek, which is on the Illinois EPA’s “impaired streams” list for polluted waters. Your assistance will help determine what the water quality of Rocky Branch and East Fork of Wood River is and clean them up to improve river health for the future. Lunch is provided for the first 30 volunteers to sign up! To register for this free event, please visit the following link.
Spring, 2018, Bolingbrook, IL. Exhibit at a RiverWatch booth at Earth Aid.
Show off your RiverWatch data, macroinvertebrates, and stream monitoring experiences while representing the Illinois RiverWatch Network at Earth Aid at the Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Bolingbrook 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. No equipment required. If interested, please enter your name and email below.
Spring 2018: Lake and Cook Counties, IL--Monitor fish migration in Lake Michigan streams
Did you know that there are over 50 species of migratory fishes in the Great Lakes? We need your help in an exciting citizen science project documenting these mighty migrations! Volunteers who live near a stream mouth on the coast of Lake Michigan. Spring, 2018 – daily for up to 4 weeks (exact dates will be determined by winter/spring weather). Monitor a station each day for about 10 minutes, recording information on time, weather, water level, and presence/absence of fish. Training by Shedd’s lead investigator Dr. Karen Murchie and all supplies will be provided. Project data will be used to test whether fish are responding to water temperature or stream flow as cues to initiate their spawning migrations, and to pinpoint when peak migrations occur. Data will also be used to understand the local impacts of global climate change. If you are in the Lake Michigan area and are interested in volunteering or have questions, please contact Karen Murchie at (312) 692-2783 or
May, 2018: Madison County, IL--Monitor Silver Creek
Join RiverWatch and Heartlands Conservancy from 9 am - noon on a Saturday in May to monitor a stream in the Silver Creek Watershed of Madison County using RiverWatch habitat and biological survey methods. Stream monitoring will be led by the RiverWatch coordinator. Please wear long pants and close toed boots, tennis shoes, or waders. If interested, please contact Janet Buchanan at Heartlands Conservancy
May, 2018: Madison County, IL--Assist RiverWatch interns in monitoring Hop Hollow Creek in Godfrey
RiverWatch seeks experienced RiverWatch Citizen Scientists to assist the RiverWatch coordinator in leading a group of summer interns in monitoring Hop Hollow Creek at the Nature Institute in Godfrey, IL on a weekday in May. If interested, please enter your name and email below.
Spring, 2018, Homer Glen, IL. Exhibit at a RiverWatch booth at Earth Day/Arbor Day at Konow Farm.
Show off your RiverWatch data, macroinvertebrates, and stream monitoring experiences while representing the Illinois RiverWatch Network at Earth Day/Arbor Day at Konow Farm in Homer Glen 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. No equipment required. If interested, please enter your name and email below.
Monitor for Atrazine (herbicide) in Mississippi River and its direct tributaries.
Sign up for the Lil’ Miss Atrazine Project, an Atrazine citizen science project in the Mississippi River Watershed. This year’s Lil’ Miss Atrazine will be assessing the movement of atrazine at predetermined strategic locations along the main channels of the Mississippi River and its direct tributaries including: St. Croix River, Wisconsin River, Illinois River, Missouri River, Ohio River and Arkansas River. Project will be starting up soon, sign up by visiting the following link:
You can also contact Illinois RiverWatch about this opportunity by putting your name and email in the box below.
Maintain NGRREC auto-samplers in the Sangamon River Watershed near Sanganois wildlife area just upstream of Beardstown (water quality) and or/at Oakford, IL.
The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) has auto water quality samplers in several places in the Sagamon River Watershed that need to be checked periodically to ensure they are working properly. Volunteers for this position would receive training from NGRREC to maintain this water sampling equipment. If interested, please enter your name and email address in the space below.
Do a RiverWatch presentation at Fort Dearborn Audubon Chapter second Monday of the month in Chicago.
Do a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation (provided) about RiverWatch for the Fort Dearborn Chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society monthly meeting. Meetings are the second Monday of every month at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. Next opening to present is April 13th, 2015. Please enter your name and email below if interested.
Become a paid RiverWatch trainer (statewide)
Become a certified RiverWatch trainer by co-teaching a RiverWatch workshop with the RiverWatch coordinator and then passing the RiverWatch trainer test. Must be 18+ years of age and have at least 3 years of experience monitoring in the RiverWatch program, or professional skills in this area. Once certified as a RiverWatch trainer, you host at least 1 new volunteer training workshop each spring and 1 Open Lab in the summer. Trainers are compensated $20/hour plus mileage. Please enter your name and email below if interested.
Lead 4-H or school student group on their stream monitoring field trip (statewide)
Each year teachers and 4-H groups are trained to take their students on a RIverWatch stream monitoring field trip. Sometimes teachers and 4-H groups leaders request someone with stream monitoring expertise to assist their class on the field trip. If this interests you, please enter your name and email below.
Help complete RiverWatch office work (Alton, IL)
Assist with RiverWatch office work at the NGRREC field station in Alton, IL by entering hard copy stream monitoring data into spreadsheets and sorting macroinvertebrates. Work time is flexible, but must within 8 am - 4 pm, M-F. If interested, please enter your name and email below.
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