DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Androscoggin River Watershed Council is seeking volunteers to do water quality monitoring on the Androscoggin River this summer. The sampling is operated as part of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Voluntary River Monitoring Program.

The process is quite simple. Instruments are calibrated in the field, a probe from the instrument is dropped into the river and the hand-held instrument is read and the data recorded while at the sampling site. Parameters include dissolved oxygen, specific conductance and turbidity.

Volunteers will have a couple of hours of training in May and sampling starts anytime between mid-May and mid-June and finished at the end of September, depending on the volunteer’s schedule. Sampling is done twice a month before 8 a.m. for reasons that will be explained during the training. Volunteers may sample at one or more sites.

It can be helpful to have two people in a sampling team just to handle the equipment and ensure safety around the water. We will help pair volunteers as needed. Sampling is done at designated locations and is generally done from the shore, although sampling from bridges, kayaks or other boats can be done.

We are seeking volunteers from the Lisbon-Durham area northerly to the New Hampshire border. Training and sampling will use appropriate COVID-19 protection protocols. Those interested can contact Ferg Lea at [email protected] or Becky Secrest at [email protected]. – Ferg,  Androscoggin River Watershed, no town

ANSWER: What an awesome and unique volunteer opportunity spending time by the water in the great outdoors! I have a friend who has volunteered doing this very thing with another Maine watershed for years and she has often spoken of how much she enjoys it.

I hope some great people step forward to help and that this season’s sampling team comes together quickly and is a great success.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Large shopping bags needed at Trinity Jubilee Church. Our Soup Kitchen offers to-go lunches, soups and salads, breads and pastries, coffee and packaged meats. This is more food than people can carry so we’d love big bags from Trader Joe’s, Hannaford To-Go, etc. They can be dropped off from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. — No name, no town

ANSWER: Food pantries are always in need of sturdy, large paper bags. Doubling the bags before dropping them off is helpful, but check first to see what’s needed. The Trinity Jubilee Center is at 247 Bates St. in Lewiston.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a lot of old postage stamps that I want to give away. Perhaps a school or stamp club may want them. They are here for the asking at my home. I can be reached at 577-9925. I enjoy your column and appreciate your efforts. — No name, no town

ANSWER: I’ve also known of collage artists who use these stamps in their work. Let us know if you have any bites. Just as a gentle reminder, readers, if you have something to give away, please include your town as this helps other readers decide how far they want to travel for the offered item(s).

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].



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