Volunteer Adopts Local Streams, Monitoring Water Quality to Help Protect the World’s Most Vital Resource

Daily Point of Light # 6465 Feb 28, 2019

Brittaney Dyer collects data from a stream she adopted in Blairsville, Georgia, helping to monitor the quality of the water that flows into the Hiawassee River.

Brittaney Dyer believes in the power of people. As a volunteer water quality monitor, she helps preserve the lakes and streams in her community for future generations. For more than three years, Brittaney has been testing the chemical and bacterial levels of streams alongside the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program and the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition, committed to protecting our world’s most vital resource.

Brittaney developed a love for the environment at an early age. From spending time at her grandparents’ house surrounded by natural springs, to fishing and walking her dog near local creeks, she grew up immersed in the outdoors. The sustainability of water has long been a priority to this Blairsville, Georgia, native, and four years ago, she took the step to become certified as a chemical and bacterial monitor through Georgia Adopt-A-Stream.

Upon completion of the certification, Brittaney jumped at the opportunity to be responsible for monitoring local sources of water, and she adopted not one, but two streams. Each year, she adopts the same two streams, and is responsible for checking the water’s oxygen, pH levels, temperature and running E.coli test each month.

The data Brittaney collects goes to the Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining water quality in creeks, lakes and rivers that flow into the Hiawassee River, which runs through Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Research from volunteer water monitors like Brittaney is essential for evaluating water improvement efforts over time, and helps reveal which waters are safe for swimming and other water-based recreation.

Brittaney says people can make everyday choices to contribute to keeping sources of water clean. She collects trash on the banks of streams and garbage that has made its way into the bodies of water itself. Waste can flow directly into water, and being aware of the items you can recycle can go a long way to cut down the level of excess materials at landfills.

Brittaney treats and restores the population of local hemlock trees, currently endangered by an invasive insect species.

She also works alongside Save Georgia’s Hemlocks, a volunteer-run nonprofit addressing the urgent need to protect hemlock trees in north Georgia from an invasive species. Brittaney cares for the trees by treating them with non-harmful chemicals, and works to spread awareness in the community on steps protect them from the growing insect population. 

Dedicated to strengthening her community in any way she can, Brittaney is always on the lookout for opportunities to make a difference. She volunteers at the local sheriff’s office, helps feed and clothe the homeless, collects resources for children and families in need, and picks up trash during her community’s Saturday of Service events. Currently a student at the University of North Georgia’s Dahlonega campus, she is involved in five leadership organizations and recently advocated for recycling and sustainability initiatives on campus —resulting in the introduction of recycling bins on campus for the very first time.

“We all have the ability to make a lifelong impact,” said Brittaney. “Why not get involved in the community with something you’re passionate about?”

Without volunteers like Brittaney, many bodies of water would be under-monitored, or not monitored at all. “I want to let everybody know that we can all take a stance of doing our part in the world,” she said. “Find something you’re passionate about, and work towards it. We can all make a difference.”

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Brittaney? Visit All For Good for local volunteer opportunities.

Madi Donham