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Where will YOU be for World Water Monitoring Day?

This past August I sprang out of bed at a mere four o'clock in the morning to hop on a flight across the country. In Washington, D.C., I would finally come face to face with the 30 other EarthEcho Water Challenge Ambassadors who I had never met but whose voices were familiar from descriptions of their water monitoring efforts on our monthly calls together. I spent a weekend connecting with Ambassadors from places I have never been, like Texas and Puerto Rico, to folks who lived just across the bay from me in San Francisco. After a few months of working independently to test the quality of our local water bodies, it was incredible to come together and share our passion for environmental advocacy with one another. 

September 18th is World Water Monitoring Day, a day that empowers communities to recognize the importance of safe and clean water by collecting and sharing data on their local waterways. It is the perfect opportunity to commit to taking action to protect the environment as a new school year begins. World Water Monitoring Day exemplifies that anyone can participate in citizen science that benefits a greater community. 

On September 16th and 18th, you can find me in my local elementary schools with a bucket of water. Throughout my time as a Water Challenge Abassador, I’ve found that not every school has the tools to connect students with science. Bringing real field science into the classroom is just one way World Water Monitoring Day can help reach a new audience of young scientists and conservationists. In each classroom I visit, the students and I will use EarthEcho Water Challenge test kits to test local water samples for pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and turbidity. Along the way I teach them what these parameters mean and how they provide vital information about how healthy their water is. 

Across the country, EarthEcho Water Challenge Ambassadors, partners, and youth leaders are taking action to monitor and protect their local water resources this World Water Monitoring Day, including a special event on September 18 that will unite the EarthEcho team, including our founder Philippe Cousteau, with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association and Environmental Science Center to engage over 85 local students in learning about, monitoring, and protecting the Cedar River in Renton, WA. 

But YOU can participate in World Water Monitoring Day from anywhere. You don’t have to be an Ambassador, a scientist, or a student. There are thousands of water bodies all over the world, from streams and creeks to lakes and oceans. Imagine what we could learn if every single one was tested this World Water Monitoring Day! Earlier this year, I was just a student with a strong passion for conservation. Now I am a teacher, activist, and protector of my local waterway. Meeting the other Water Challenge Ambassadors showed me that there are so many other people out there who, like me, want to preserve our environment. And I’m sure we’re not the only ones. Join us this September 18th and beyond in fostering communities that shape the state of their local environments.

Learn how you can take action at www.monitorwater.org and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sharing your work to #MonitorWater on September 18 and throughout the year. 

Mykaela Barnes is an EarthEcho Water Challenge Ambassador undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Conservation and Resource Studies and minoring in Theater and Performance Studies.