A pair of volunteer training sessions for stream monitors through the Stream Monitoring Information Exchange will be offered next month, giving volunteers the skills they’ll need to participate in long-term monitoring projects at sites in Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Yancey, Henderson and Mitchell counties. The times and dates are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at UNC-Asheville
The course covers basic stream ecology, methods for reporting local water quality programs, identification of aquatic insects and stream sampling skills. It includes classroom and outdoor portions, so participants should come prepared to get wet. After training, volunteers will work in small groups with leaders to sample at least two sites per season. Each site must be sampled once in the spring and once in the fall, about two or three hours per site. Volunteers must be 17 or older, but no experience is necessary. The March 17 training is geared toward Henderson County volunteers, with the March 24 training aimed at volunteers in Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Mitchell, and Yancey counties.