Meet Our Water Watchers – Dana Herren!

by | Feb 26, 2019 | Uncategorized

Dana Herren is passionate about water resources, geology, and teaching kids through hands-on activities. She is a dedicated AWW Volunteer Trainer and Monitor, and an active member of the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association. Let’s get to know Dana a little more!

Dana conducts research aboard Dauphin Island’s Alabama Discovery research vessel in the Mississippi Sound along the Gulf Coast.

Dana first started monitoring with AWW in 2016 with the Jacksonville River Monitors and started the process to become a Volunteer Trainer in Spring 2018. She graduated from Jacksonville State University in Spring 2018 with a Bachelors Degree in Geography. Her degree has impressive variety and includes studies in water resources, watersheds, climatology, atmospheric patterns and pressures, natural hazards, ecotoxicology, ecology, soils, geomorphology, mapping, and geographic information systems.

Dana collects a water quality sample

When AWW was contacted last year by Calhoun County Extension to present at an Earth Day Celebration at the Cane Creek Community Garden but we were too busy to present, Dana eagerly stepped in when we called on our local volunteers to help! She was excited at the opportunity to teach the kids – 800 kids over two days!

At the Earth Day event, Dana demonstrated how to safely make observations on water samples and showed them the importance of water quality testing through the 4-H AWW activity “Why Test Water?” In this experiment,  students try to determine which of 5 cups containing various solutions is tap water by wafting and looking at each sample.

Dana helps students conduct the “Why Test Water?” activity to demonstrate why it is important to test water quality and conducts a pH test for students. You can see the cinnamon solution on the far right.

She said of the Earth Day event, “I do believe all of the students enjoyed helping with the experiment! Additionally, they enjoyed learning to use the wafting technique to figure out which of the 5 glasses contained only tap water. Most students chose correctly when choosing which cup had tap water. They were amazed that the cinnamon water was one of the healthiest [samples] on my table because it looks so nasty. This allowed me to explain to them how looks can be deceiving.”

Dana continued, “the looks on their faces were priceless when I told them they are drinking water that the dinosaurs once drank. Not to mention, how amazed they all were over the amount of water in the state of Alabama and how 132,000 miles of rivers and streams could circle the globe 5 times.”

She enjoyed working with the Calhoun County Extension Office and the 4-H AWW for the Earth Day event, and she said it reminded her of how much she loves working with younger students, and how I would love to get involved with Extension and 4-H.

Dana speaks on behalf of the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association at the Alabama Rivers Alliance Water Rally.

When Dana hears about an ecological or water quality issue in her area, she is one of the first to investigate, often before the news reporters can get to the issue! On a recent fish kill in Talladega, Dana said, “I spent all day yesterday walking around Riverside and Lincoln. It looks as though it’s bow fisherman throwing out their catches. I did a chemistry water test. Everything was in normal ranges, but the DO saturation was 128. It was much later than I would usually test, and maybe that’s why the do saturation was high. I let the game warden know because I also had a dead goose (that’s a felony)!”

Thank  you, Dana, for your dedication to Alabama Water Watch through monitoring and training, and to the watersheds of Alabama through being such a wonderful steward! Keep up the great work!


Auburn University Water Resources Center
ALFA Agricultural Services and Research Building
961 S Donahue Drive
Auburn, AL 36840