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Julie Vastine ’03 has been helming Dickinson’s Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) since 2007, and accolades for the citizen-science organization have always marked her tenure. Now, Vastine, who was appointed to the board of the Citizen Science Association last year, has been tapped to serve as volunteer monitoring representative to the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC).
As a new NWQMC representative, Vastine will help communicate the work of the 1.3 million U.S. volunteers across 1,300 programs and connect their data and efforts to national initiatives. The position has a four-year term, renewable after the period comes to an end. The NWQMC—a body co-chaired by members of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey—has representatives from all federal agencies who conduct water quality monitoring, state agencies from each of the 10 federal regions and elective positions.
“In collaboration with work group members, I’m able to determine the needs in the volunteer monitoring community and work collaboratively with others to develop—or connect people to existing—resources,” says Vastine, noting that hers is one of only 25 seats on the council. “No one person or organization can do it all, so collaboration is crucial to achieving a collective goal. This appointment signals that my community ethos is valued and that I’m making positive strides to cultivate a strong national volunteer monitoring community. It also affirms that ALLARM is doing vital and important work.”
That ALLARM community has always included Dickinson students, and they stay connected through such initiatives as the Rick Shangraw ’81 Community Aquatic Research Laboratory and the newly funded Susquehanna Stream Team. The latter was recently established with a grant from the Campbell Foundation and will pair ALLARM with the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper and Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper.
“Our students are constantly making connections between science, policy and science communication,” Vastine says, “and ALLARM students will be joining me on work group calls and webinars—they will be in the thick of things as the Volunteer Monitoring work group explores national needs and thinking through solutions.”
Published June 10, 2019