David Merrill at his RiverWatch monitoring site.

Join hundreds of volunteers who support our river-saving mission by offering their time, skill and experience in personally meaningful ways.

Volunteering for the river is a great way to make a difference, learn new skills and spend time with great people. Be involved at the strategic level with committee service or dive into work in-the-field. There are many opportunities to get involved in ways that fit your passions, schedule and expertise.

Comfortable with computers? Office volunteers are always needed to help development staff with critical computer work. Software specific training is provided. Lend a hand for a few hours or drop by each week. No matter how much time you are willing to give, we have an opportunity for you!

To find a match between your interests and our needs, email Program Coordinator Ryan at rodonnell@ipswichriver.org or 978-412-8200 ext. 15.
Thank you!

Summer Internships are available!

Click here for a list of 2016 Ipswich River volunteers.

“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
    • 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. Currently the town of Topsfield has no Stream Team. Interested in getting one started? Contact Ryan O’Donnell
    • RiverWatch monitoring, 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.
    • Counting fish can be fun for the whole family!

      Counting fish is fun for the whole family!

      Herring count is conducted each Spring at the Ipswich Mills 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, 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!).
A congenial group of volunteers enjoy working outside together to tend the gardens monthly from April - October. Join us!

A congenial group of volunteers enjoy working outside together to tend the gardens monthly from May – October. Join us!

  • Volunteer in our Gardens!  Our headquarters hosts a series of Greenscapes demonstration projects that show how we can live better using less water, reduce pollution and replenish groundwater. Garden projects include a native plant garden, organic lawn, green roof and rain gardens. We need a few more gardening enthusiasts to help tend these gardens (2 hours per month, April – October).
  • Stream continuity/Fish Habitat surveys. Our project team visited and scored at least 800 of the 1000 or more road-stream crossings in the 257 mi2 PIE-Rivers region (that’s Parker-Ipswich-Essex) in summer 2014 and revisited many of the same sites to collect additional data for a risk assessment study in 2015. Survey results will be analyzed and reports made available to municipalities and other groups interested in improving habitat conditions and planning for flood vulnerability in the region. Stay tuned for more restoration volunteer projects.
  • Volunteers collect macro invertebrates in the field.

    Volunteers collect and sort macro invertebrates in the field.

    Macroinvertebrate (Bugs!) Monitoring.  Benthic Macroinvertebrates (macros for short) are organisms that live out part of their life cycle on the bottom (benthic) of streams and rivers. These include different types of insects like dragonflies, mayflies and caddisflies, as well as other types of organisms like leeches and aquatic worms. They are an important part of the food chain and a good indicator of overall river health, because some types of macroinvertebrates are more sensitive to changes in habitat quality than others. By recording where different types of macroinvertebrates are found, we can understand how the ecology of the river is affected by areas of low dissolved oxygen caused by low flows and other habitat changes.

  • RIFLS Streamflow Monitoring. Volunteers read staff gauges in North Reading and Boxford to collect data on flow volumes on Martin’s Brook, the upper Ipswich River and Fish Brook. This is very easy to do, takes minimal time and is important for understanding flow changes in this particularly flow-stressed section of the watershed.

If you prefer to volunteer inside, you can help:

  • Join a committee
  • 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, farmer’s 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:

Jim MacDougall (left) and Ryan O’Donnell (right) train Laura, Jon and Katie to do stream continuity surveys. Together, we work as a team to save our streams.