Every couple of weeks, volunteers armed with clipboards and coolers and with enough commitment to rise early in the morning make their way down to a local stream or river.
The volunteers, like Coginchaug High School science teacher Susan Michael, are performing a vital task: testing the quality of the water that surrounds them.
Patch recently spent a morning with Michael as she collected water samples from tributaries of the Coginchaug River, including Fowler Creek, a slow moving creek located south of Pickett Lane in Durham.
Michael is one of many volunteers with the The Connecticut River Watch Program (CRWP), an effort organized by the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District. Beginning in June and through October, the volunteers collect local water samples and send them to Hartford where the water is tested by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
The results, which will be available later this fall, help determine the quality of the water and whether intervention is needed in areas to maintain safe water quality in the watershed.