By: Klavdiya Vasylenko, Temple University student
I found out about TTF by searching for volunteer and internship opportunities in the Philadelphia area that had to do with my major, environmental science. I read about what they do and knew I wanted to find a way to get involved. After sending an email expressing my interest, we made plans to meet at one of the stream sites this November. I met with Alex Cooper and another volunteer to collect data about water quality and the conditions of the Tookany Creek. We visited multiple sites and had a chance to use professional equipment to collect data to send back to the chemistry lab for more testing. Since I did not have much experience in field work, Alex clearly explained the proper way to obtain measurements and how to use the equipment at the first location. From then on we were able to do everything ourselves — that is how easy it was! Our day consisted of collecting samples of water and detecting any physical changes such as odor, color, stream gradient, erosion, amount of algae, etc. The testing we did was to measure the amount of dissolved oxygen and PH level of each site. The three of us were able to visit 5 locations that day and be finished in time for lunch.
Tookany creek in Montgomery County is upstream of the Tacony Creek in Philadelphia, which plays an important part in the condition and quality of the Delaware River watershed. By carefully monitoring the sites the staff of TTF are able to measure the impact of the restoration projects previously performed. Without the monitoring we wouldn’t get a chance to learn about the health of the creeks and how to sustain the quality of the watershed.
What I found most interesting was how much the information I learned in school applied to what we did that day. By getting a chance to go out to each location and do the testing ourselves I was able to get hands-on experience with what I learned in class. For someone who didn’t have prior knowledge about performing water testing, it did not take long to learn the procedure and how to properly approach the stream. By the end of the day we were really getting the hang of it. I hope to continue working with TTF and the streamkeeper program to learn new ways of keeping a healthy watershed in my community.