The Heart of the Chilterns: Volunteers #5 Hefin Rhys, Chess Watch Volunteer
Hefin Rhys volunteers on the ChessWatch project which monitors the water quality of the River Chess.
He worked with Dr Kate Heppell to set up the water quality dashboard for the project, working with the data from four water quality sondes (sensors) placed at different points along the River Chess. These sondes have been continuously monitoring water quality since 2019, with two more being added in 2022. Read more about ChessWatch and other research projects.
What’s been your role so far as a volunteer?
Most of my volunteering has been from behind a computer screen. The ChessWatch project has four water quality sensors in the river at locations of importance. Each of these sensors has taken several measurements of water quality (such as pH, temperature, how much dissolved oxygen there is) every 15 minutes for over three years. That’s a lot of data! My role as a volunteer is to take this data, remove errors from it, and add it to the project’s water quality dashboard, so that the public and expert geographers can view and interact with the data.
That’s my main role, but in an effort to do some “in person” volunteering, I recently got involved with the Mud Spotter activity, which aims to identify sources of fine sediment entering the river system. On one occasion, I got into a rowing boat on a fishing lake along the Chess, to help test a new portable dissolved oxygen sensor.
What was your previous experience? What prompted you to get involved?
What have you enjoyed and learnt from volunteering?
What have been the challenges?
What tips would you give to someone thinking of volunteering but not sure yet?
How might the volunteering influence your plans for the future?
View the ChessWatch dashboard online
The ChessWatch project began in 2019 and is being led by Prof. Kate Heppell of Queen Mary University of London. Four water quality sondes placed at different points along the River Chess have been continuously monitoring water quality since 2019. Two further sondes will be added in 2022. The project has also conducted research into local awareness, perception and concerns for the River Chess. Real-time water quality data can be seen on the water quality dashboard.
Join our citizen science army!
Citizen science is the involvement of the public in scientific research – from community-driven surveys to global investigations. For the River Chess, citizen science is an incredibly vital way of getting data together and finding out information about current issues affecting the river and its catchment, including everything from water quality to water voles. All ages and abilities and backgrounds are welcome.
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