2021 Volunteer of the Year Award: John Gates

2021 Volunteer of the Year Award: John Gates

The BCLSS is pleased to announce that John Gates of the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society is the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Volunteer Award.

John Gates is the data manager for the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society (OLWQS). This is a role he has filled for a number of years. After each scheduled sampling of Osoyoos Lake, John collects the computer holding the sampling data, extracts current data sets, checks for anomalies, and then transcribes the instrument data. John then produces a report for each sampling site for OLWQS and shares them with the Ministry of Environment. These reports can be found on the OLWQS website.

During the spring through the fall, OLWQS members sample the lake twice monthly. John volunteers 3-5 hours of his time every second week through the monitoring season to keep the data management activities associated with lake sampling running smoothly. This is a significant volunteer effort as the data management function is separate from the field work performed by volunteers.

John developed and maintains a comprehensive binder of technical documentation for sampling procedures used by OLWQS sampling crews. This material includes sampling procedures for both water chemistry and zooplankton. John provides training each year for OLWQS members on the correct use of the water sampling equipment and data collection. As well, John maintains the society’s sensitive, expensive testing equipment. He is a key member of the OLWQS and his work is invaluable.

The Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society was founded in 1991 by community members to help promote public awareness of the lake, covering issues such as conservation, pollution, and lake management. It is a non-political, non-profit, charitable organization run entirely by volunteers. Society members collect water sample data annually, from April through October.

The extensive data set collected by the OLWQS since 1991 has significant value and has been used in reports by the BC Lake Stewardship Society and the BC Ministry of Environment. John Gates has been the steward of this data set and plays a critical role in maintaining the quality of data collected by the OLWQS.

Congratulations John and thank you for being an outstanding volunteer!

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