By Lori Balster
When she saw an ad in her local paper 20 years ago, Paula Boutin was immediately intrigued. “They were asking for citizen scientists to volunteer and help gather information to save Buzzards Bay,” she says. “I signed up. I’ve always thought of myself as an environmentalist.” As a resident of a waterfront home in Wareham, Mass., Paula was happy to pitch in and help protect the Bay, not only for herself but for her neighbors and the wildlife living there, too. Four years later, her husband Len joined her.
Using sampling poles made by Horacio’s in New Bedford and gradated by Tony Williams, Director of Monitoring Programs for Buzzards Bay Coalition, along with toolboxes provided by the Coalition, Paula, Len and other citizen scientists of diverse ages and backgrounds come together each year from May to September in Buzzards Bay, ready to help monitor the Bay’s health and keep an eye on changes that might be of concern. “The fact that we can notify researchers immediately if we see something out of the ordinary is one of our favorite things about the program,” says Len. Read more …
Caption: Baywatcher volunteer Marc Bellanger and son use a sampling pole to collect a water sample in Marion, Mass. Credit: Buzzards Bay Coalition