Hi, my name is Rosemary and I am the Seasonal Environmental Science Technician at the James River Association this year! I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a major in Environmental Studies and minors in Biology and Philosophy. I love spending time outside with my dog and my friends (and finding pawpaws)! Since I moved to Richmond, I have spent pretty much every summer enjoying the James River, and I am so excited to be able to work on projects that help monitor and protect this wonderful resource.

My main responsibility this summer has been working on James River Watch, a volunteer water quality monitoring program that stretches from Buchanan down to Hampton. Every Thursday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, volunteers go out and collect samples from designated sites throughout the watershed. These samples are then processed for E. coli or Enterococcus and then data is uploaded to our James River Watch website before the weekend. This project helps keep the public informed on current river conditions. While I have volunteered for other citizen science projects, it has been so eye-opening being on the other side and helping to run one. Projects like these are a great way for people who may not come from a science background to become stewards of their local environment and community. Showing people that science can be simple yet very rewarding is a great way to encourage people from all different walks of life to become involved in these types of projects.

I am also helping create the graphs and infographics for our biennial State of the James report. This report takes into account various indicators, from endangered species populations to sediment and nutrient levels, that help us quantify the improvements that we have been seeing and actively participating in around the watershed. Compiling and collating data from many different resources helps us examine the bigger picture of the health of the James. This report will come out later this fall and feature an updated letter grade on the health of the river. I am so excited to be able to jumpstart my career in Environmental Science at the James River Association, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow within this role.