PREP: How long have you been a champion for clean water?
Jean: I’ve been physically involved with local charges for the last four+ years, but 2006 was the year I saw a video called ‘Shifting Baselines’ (in Dave Burdick’s freshwater science class at UNH) and read Fred Pearce’s ‘When the Rivers Run Dry’. The true catalysts of my raised awareness, those two.
PREP: How’d you get started in protecting clean water?
Jean: I started working at the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Great Bay Discovery Center in 2007 to satisfy an undergrad requirement. My position included everything from cleaning toilets to designing children’s programming to creating educational outreach information, all of which ultimately plugged me right into the very estuary that I lived (and still live) on. Working on the shoreline-oftentimes literally-absolutely made me pay attention. We consider our parcel a sanctuary.
PREP: What’s your favorite thing to do with or on water?
Jean: You know, just knowing that there is life teeming within it, life that leads to more life…sometimes it’s just about watching from a distance. Up close, VBAP work with Sally Soule was a blast, but I do immensely enjoy kayaking. With binoculars.
PREP:What’s been your proudest moment as a clean water champion?
Jean: When a very engaged High School science teacher from a nearby town wrote and asked if I could include some at-risk students on a round of water testing a couple of summers ago, I was all over it. I put all nine students (and teachers!) hands-on and they learned about water quality sampling protocols, meter operation, and even quality assurance/quality control. They of course learned about water quality parameters, how to differentiate select native aquatic plants from non-natives, and how to identify all kinds of wildlife (they were particularly enamored with a green frog’s “eeek!”). Their capstone project later that summer included an Open House informational fair at their school, organized and manned entirely by them, and, through the help of their teacher, a very cool video compilation of their summer-long experiences. Their presentation was awesome…and very heartfelt. There was barely a dry eye in the room full of teachers, parents, their principal, and me.
PREP: What’s one simple thing you would tell somebody to do to protect the places around the Seacoast they love?
Jean: Ha! Ha!, don’t just be an observer! Be a voice. Forget ego, forget pride…don’t be afraid to ask that proverbial ‘dumb question’.
Connect with the Winnicut River Watershed Coalition HERE
And on December 16th from 6:30-7:30pm at the Weeks Public Library in Greenland
join Jean, the WRWC & the Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper for the Winter Conservation Accomplishments & Challenges Series: Ensuring the Health of Great Bay. For more info CLICK HERE