Debra Jones was in disbelief when she found out Texas Stream Team had nominated her for the October Citizen Scientist Spotlight.

“I’m going to have to start keeping my head down,” Jones joked.

We feel it is only right to give credit where credit is due and Jones, a hardworking Texas Stream Team citizen scientist and trainer, stood out for her vast efforts in helping to develop more monitoring sites in Northeast Texas while increasing certified citizen scientist in the community. When asked what Texas Stream Team meant to her, Jones replied that it gave her the chance to give back to the environment.

Jones first became interested in Texas Stream Team while being a part of the Texas Master Naturalists – Red River Chapter, a program designed to develop a community of well-informed volunteers who provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the management of natural resources in Texas. This makes Jones no amateur when it comes to helping preserve the environment.

Her goal is to get as many sites established in Northeast Texas as she can through her efforts as a trainer and citizen scientist. Since getting involved with Texas Stream Team, she has helped establish eight new sites. Just some of the sites Jones monitors are Lake Tawakoni Dam, Pine Creek at Lamar CR 43270, Red River at Hwy 37, Cedar Creek at FM 2497, and Big Mineral Creek at the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge on Lake Texoma.

Outdoor testing at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Dick Waldrep.

As a retired woman, her time with Texas Stream Team is voluntary, and she is not currently looking for career opportunities that relates to data or water quality monitoring.

“I just want to get more people involved and get them to understand that water is a precious resource, and we must do what we can to take care of it,” Jones said. “I want to make people aware of what they can do for the environment like getting out to monitor and helping pick up trash to keep it out of our waterways.”

Jones says being a trainer has helped her accomplish this goal of getting more people involved. Training citizen scientists and spreading awareness are important to Jones, and she says these are some of the first steps in the right direction to getting the necessary information to the individuals who utilize the data. She says she feels as though it is the job of citizen scientists and trainers to identify the problem and throw it up the chain to those who have more knowledge of what to do with it.

Outdoor testing at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Dick Waldrep

“I appreciate the fact that Texas Stream Team is there and has a way for us to just jump in and get started,” said Jones.

Jones would like to thank other trainers in her group who led the way and helping her become a monitor and trainer, such as Delores McCright (25-year Texas Stream Team veteran and trainer of many), Cheryl Anderson (trainer and monitoring buddy), and Judy Reeves (trainer). Without them, Jones says she wouldn’t even know about Texas Stream Team.

Texas Stream Team appreciates her hard work and efforts in promoting environmental stewardship. Without trainers like Jones, Texas Stream Team would not be the program it is today.

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