Big Windermere Survey volunteers thanked for becoming ‘citizen scientists’

Love Windermere Event at Jetty Museum Saturday 23rd September 2023
25th September 2023

Two and a half thousand samples taken by three hundred volunteers who devoted one thousand hours of time: staggering statistics revealed by scientists studying England’s largest lake.

Six hundred litres of water were extracted during four surveys organised by the Freshwater Biological Association and analysed at Lancaster University.

On Saturday 23rd September 80 volunteers gathered at the Windermere Jetty Museum to hear more about how their samples are used to create a picture, a snap-shot of the lake’s water quality.

Volunteers at Windermere Jetty Museum Saturday 23rd September 2023

Launched jointly by the Freshwater Biological Association and Lancaster University in June 2022, the Big Windermere Survey recruited a team of local volunteer citizen scientists to help assess the environmental health of Windermere. The Big Windermere Survey has completed five rounds of surveys. Results from the first four can be seen on the Freshwater Biological Association’s website. The results from August 2023 and an overall assessment of data gathered during a full yearspanning the four seasons will be released later this autumn.

Citizen scientists are trained to collect water samples from approximately 100 different locations on Windermere and in the rivers and lakes that flow into it. The samples are analysed for nutrient and bacterial concentrations at independent laboratories, producing the largest, one-day snapshot of conditions in Windermere.

As well as a presentation by Dr Ben Surridge, a biogeochemist based at Lancaster University, volunteers were also able to see for themselves how the samples are tested and some of the organisms that can be found in freshwater.