Volunteer

You can help take care of our river by joining a river monitoring project, counting herring at the Ipswich fish ladder, working on Greenscaping initiatives or helping with office work!

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ryan O’Donnell, Program Coordinator, at rodonnell@ipswichriver.org or 978-412-8200 ext. 15. Thank you!

Bill Whiting lays permeable pavers at our new headquarters, August 2007. Photo: T. Aldrich

Volunteering for the Ipswich River Watershed Association is a great way to make a difference, learn new skills, and make new friends. No matter how much time you are willing to give, we have an opportunity for you!

“My volunteer work for Ipswich River has been tremendously satisfying. I make a difference with my own two hands, and I can see the difference I make with my own two eyes.”     –Bill Whiting, IRWA Volunteer

If you like to be outside, we need field volunteers for:

  • RiverWatch monitoring is our volunteer water quality monitoring program to assess the health of the Ipswich River. Volunteers collect data monthly from March-December on weather conditions, rain in the last 48 hours, water color, odor and clarity, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, velocity, depth and conductivity. Measurements are taken at 31 sites throughout the watershed: 9 sites are on major tributaries and 21 sites are on the mainstem of the Ipswich River.
  • Herring count is conducted each Spring at the Ipswich Dam in downtown Ipswich. Volunteers perform 10 minute counts throughout the day and season at the top of the fish ladder. the data are used to document the conditions under which river herring or alewife and also blueback herring migrate into the Ipswich River to spawn.
  • Take Photographs!  We need pictures of our beautiful river, pictures of pollution, pictures of flooding, pictures of watershed association events and volunteers. Most of all we need pictures of people (and faces) that are out enjoying or working on the watershed. You can take pictures wherever you want, whenever you want and share them with us. We’ll add them to our high resolution photo library (you can also join our group on Flickr.com!).
  • Volunteer in our Gardens!  Our headquarters hosts a series of Greenscapes demonstration projects that show how we can live better using less water, and reduce pollution and replenish groundwater too. Garden projects include a native plant garden, organic lawn, green roof and rain gardens. We are looking for a few gardening enthusiasts to help tend and maintain these gardens during the growing season (April – October).
  • Stream continuity/Fish Habitat surveys. Our project team plans to visit and score at least 800 of the 1000 or more road-stream crossings in the 257 mi2 PIE Rivers region (that’s Parker-Ipswich-Essex) by summer 2014. Survey results will be analyzed and reports made available to municipalities and other groups interested in improving habitat conditions in the region.
  • Macroinvertebrate (Bugs!) Monitoring. The presence of different types of benthic macroinvertebrates are good indicator of water quality.
  • RIFLS Streamflow Monitoring. Volunteers read staff gauges in North Reading to collect data on flow volumes on Martin’s Brook and the upper Ipswich River. This is very easy to do, takes minimal time and important to understand flow changes in this particularly flow stressed section of the watershed.
  • Join a Stream Team! These volunteers are among the most committed and knowledgeable in the watershed, and have undertaken many projects to protect the Ipswich River and educate their communities about issues facing the river.

If you prefer to volunteer inside, you can help:

  • Organize volunteers
  • Provide general office support
  • Enter data
  • Prepare mailings
  • Organize events

Trustee Bob Pulver, Development Director Trish Aldrich and friend encourage environmentally-friendly landscaping at Ipswich Garden Club Plant Sale.

If you are a people person, you can volunteer with our outreach efforts:

  • Spread the word by staffing an information table at fairs, farmers’ markets, and other community events
  • Help build our membership base by sending us 10 names and addresses of people in your neighborhood who you think would be likely supporters of our work

If you are a high school student:

  • Support spring herring count and assist with data entry and analysis
  • Help with other ongoing projects such as our photo tour of the watershed, recreation guide and more.

 

If you are a college undergraduate seeking a summer internship:

  • Summer internship positions for 2014 are currently closed. Please check back next year for other opportunities.

Jim MacDougall (left) and Ryan O’Donnell (right) train Laura, Jon and Katie to do stream continuity surveys.

Project ideas for research internships at the graduate or advanced undergraduate level are available here.

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the following inquiry form so we can better identify your interests and match this with our needs. We will contact you as soon as possible. For more information , please contact Ryan O’Donnell, Program Coordinator, at rodonnell@ipswichriver.org or 978-412-8200 ext. 15. Thank you!