The Heart of the Chilterns: Volunteers #3 Alice Dancer, River Chess Citizen Science volunteer
Alice Dancer is a brand new volunteer who’s just got started with citizen science volunteering, helping to monitor the health of the River Chess chalk stream.
Here, she shares what she’s been learning so far about some tiny river residents, the slow pace and calm of being immersed in nature, and how the project has even kindled a new interest in geography!
Her volunteering role is part of the River Chess Smarter Water Catchment project.
Anyway, I enjoyed it so much I asked how I could get involved in more volunteer work on the Chess, and that’s when I was put in touch with Professor Kate Heppell. I (and my husband) met with her to discuss the different types of volunteering we could get involved with and we’ve signed up to three: MudSpotting, which we’ve had a training session on, and a dry run looking for potential sediment outlets along part of the Chess, and now it’s just a case of waiting for the rain so we can get out there to have a proper go at using the MudSpotter method!
We’ve also just had a really interesting training session on the Modular River Survey technique, and a group of us will be getting together to have a go for the first time on a stretch of the Chess which is due to be restored soon. And then the last one we’ve signed up to is the river fly monitoring – we went out recently to shadow some experienced river fly monitors, and it was utterly fascinating to see the breadth and abundance of tiny life in the river – I really can’t wait to get more involved in all of these projects, and of course to making friends with other local volunteers!
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A chalk stream, far-reaching valley views, a tucked-away Manor House and the mewing of red kites for company on this circular Chess Valley walk.
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