Do you have extra time and want to get involved in your community? Become a NepRWA volunteer!

As a volunteer, you might:

  • sample water at streams around the watershed
  • work with other volunteers on river cleanups
  • work as a summer intern
  • help with local advocacy in your town or at the State House
  • monitor biocontrol treatment sites
  • survey dams and culverts
  • put together a mailing
  • staff an event table

Click here for volunteer inquiry form.

Volunteer Opportunities

Citizen Water Monitoring Network: Water Samplers Needed!

The Citizen Water Monitoring Network (“CWMN” – pronounced “swimmin”) is a volunteer-based monitoring program that assesses water quality in Neponset waterways. Each year, roughly 50 volunteers take water samples, monitor dissolved oxygen levels, and transport samples from 41 locations around the watershed, six times throughout the spring, summer and fall.

For the monitoring season, we seek volunteers to fill the following CWMN positions (details below):

  • water samplers
  • dissolved oxygen samplers
  • sample coordinators
  • sample transporters

Each position plays a vital role in helping the Watershed Association to monitor water quality throughout the watershed. In addition to filling those positions, we also seek “Fill-In Samplers” whose duty it is to help cover sampling locations when a station’s regular volunteer is unable to sample. We provide training and equipment, and you provide a few hours of your time. The result is a comprehensive look at water quality around the Neponset River Watershed, which helps the Watershed Association to monitor the river and prioritize clean-up and restoration efforts.

Water Sampling

Volunteers are needed to take water samples at several area locations for the upcoming CWMN season. Water sampling takes place 6 times from May to October. Each volunteer has a specific site or sites where they sample from. Samples are taken between 6:00 AM and 7:30 AM in the morning and then taken to one of our four area Drop-off locations. Sampling typically takes 15-20 minutes from the time the volunteer gets to the site to the time they depart for the Drop-off location. Once at the Drop-off location the volunteer hands off the samples to the Drop-off Coordinator and fills out some simple paperwork.

Dissolved Oxygen Sampling

Volunteers who monitor dissolved oxygen levels are given a route with several sites and driving directions. Prior to the day of sampling the volunteer will come by the NepRWA offices and pick up a handheld dissolved oxygen meter and some supplies. On the day of sampling volunteers will go from site to site with the handheld meter and measure oxygen levels at five or six different locations. Each route is designed so that sites are not too far from each other and most can be completed in an hour or two depending on traffic on the day of sampling. Training will be provided on how to properly calibrate use the meter and record the necessary information on the paper field sheets.

Drop-off Coordinator

Coordinators come and pick up supplies at the NepRWA offices a few days prior to the sampling event. On the day of sampling Coordinators typically arrive at the drop-off location around 6:15 AM and leave to deliver samples to our offices in Canton no later than 7:45 AM. Once at the NepRWA office the samples are unloaded and some paperwork is filled out completing the Coordinators duties. Typically the time commitment associated with this position is 2.5-3 hours on the day of sampling. Lifting of coolers with ice and water samples is required.

Transport to MWRA laboratory on Deer Island

One volunteer is needed to take all of the samples from our offices in Canton to the laboratory on Deer Island. The volunteer arrives at the office at 8:30 AM on the day of sampling and takes possession of the water samples distributed in 4 large coolers. Typically the time commitment associated with this position is 2.5-3 hours on the day of sampling. Once the samples have been dropped off the coolers and paperwork are returned to the NepRWA offices along with any supplies handed off to the driver from the laboratory staff (typically a few boxes of empty sample bottles).

To become a regular CWMN volunteer (or an emergency contact volunteer – a substitute for water monitors who occasionally cannot participate), contact our Environmental Scientist, Chris Hirsch at 781-575-0354 x302 or hirsch@neponset.org

Regular volunteers need to attend a training session and commit to test an assigned site.  Emergency contact volunteers need to attend training and be ready to help when contacted.

Summer Intern

Each summer, the Watershed Association hires a volunteer intern. The internship provides an excellent opportunity to gain experience working for a river watershed association, aka a small, environmental nonprofit.

Learn more about this opportunity by contacting Ian Cooke at 781-575-0354 x305 or cooke@neponset.org

Volunteer Community Liaisons

  • Are you actively involved in your community’s events?
  • Are you the first person to know what’s brewing in your neighborhood?
  • Do you know what’s going to be in the Public Notice sections of the local paper before it’s printed?

If so, we’d like to recruit you!

We’re looking for people throughout the watershed to keep us more informed about local issues relevant to the watershed and to help with our advocacy work.

To learn more, contact Advocacy Director, Kery Snyder at 781-575-0354 x 300 or snyder@neponset.org

Office Helpers

We can put you to work at the office, doing all kinds of things from helping with mailings to organizing data, to preparing equipment for water-testing days. This role involves working one-on-one with staff or independently at the office or at home. Being able to commit to a reasonably regular schedule over at least a couple of months is the key to making this kind of volunteer role work well.

For more information, contact Ian Cooke at 781-575-0354 x305 or cooke@neponset.org.

“On Call” Helpers

These volunteers have their names added to the “on call” volunteer email list and agree to “help when they can” with short-term group efforts to prepare mailings, provide an extra set of hands on the day of a special event, or assist with other miscellaneous tasks as they come up.

The location varies depending on the need – e.g., sometimes at the office and sometimes at a special event location. Time and schedule also depend on need. Generally, short-term projects are 1 to 2 hours in duration. Commitment is determined by the volunteer.

For more information, contact Ian Cooke at 781-575-0354 x305 or cooke@neponset.org.

Tackle Your Own Special Project

Do you have a chunk of time available and an interest in tackling your own special project? We have lots of “projects” that need doing, like organizing a river cleanup, surveying stream crossings, researching river history, making a river video, reopening a canoe launch, preparing a marketing survey. The possibilities are endless!

As a special project volunteer, a watershed association staff person will work with you to identify a discrete project that matches your interests and skills, to develop a “scope of work” for your project, and to connect you with any training or special resources you may need. Then it’s up to you to manage your project, implement it, and bask in the glory of the outcome.

Special Project volunteers can work in the office if they like or at their own home, and the schedule is entirely up to you. If there’s a problem in the watershed that’s always bugged you or something you always wanted to get done, this is the volunteer role for you!

For more information, contact Nancy Fyler at 781-575-0354 x307 or fyler@neponset.org.