By Reef Check California Director Dr. Jan Freiwald
In April Reef Check California (RCCA) kicked off its sixth field season by recertifying our seasoned citizen scientists and completing our first surveys. Recertifications were held in southern California, Monterey and in our northern region. We always look forward to this time of year when we meet our veteran volunteers again, with whom we will spend many weekends over the coming months collecting data. In a program such as RCCA, in which volunteers have to go through an intensive training and become very skilled at research techniques, it is critical that volunteers stay involved for many years to continue generating high quality data. Many of our volunteers have now surveyed for up to five years and bring their much needed experience back again this year. They run surveys, help train new volunteers and enable the program to grow. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our long-term volunteers, for doing this important work! We could not do it without you.
Recertifications are also an important part of RCCA’s data quality control. By practicing and being evaluated by an RCCA instructor every year before beginning to survey, volunteers get a chance to re-familiarize themselves with the survey techniques. In this way RCCA can insure consistency in data collection. So if you have not been recertified yet, please sign up. The scheduled is posted at: http://reefcheck.org/rcca/training_schedule.php. If you have been recertified this year please join a survey. Survey schedules are posted on the Reef Check Forum.
Thank you for coming back to Reef Check California for another survey season!