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Q&A: Newest Team Member for West/Rhode Riverkeeper

Will Saffell, 23, grew up on the water and is extremely eager to get his hands dirty.

The recently added a new member to its team thanks to the Chesapeake Conservation Corps’ (CCC) volunteer program.

After a unique, speed-dating like meet and greet between prospective volunteers and various watershed organizations, West/Rhode Riverkeeper and County Councilman Chris Trumbauer (D-6th District) said he knew exactly who he wanted.

Fortunately for Trumbauer, that volunteer specifically wanted to work for the West/Rhode Riverkeeper, giving 23-year-old Will Saffell a fast track to become the newest member of south county environmental organization.

Not even a week into his year-long stint with Trumbauer’s team, Saffell sat down with Patch to discuss his passion for the environment, why he chose the West/Rhode Riverkeeper, and why he’s so excited to get his hands dirty.

Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: What is it like actually having a solid job in your field of study?
Will Saffell:
It’s a dream come true. It’s something I’ve been aiming to get into for four to five years. It’s phenomenal—it’s kind of bizarre. It took awhile to sink in … I’ve always been an outdoorsy, natural guy. I didn’t realize that until sophomore year. I took a biology class and I was like, “Oh duh!” It was an epiphany.

Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: Why do you care so much about the environment?
Saffell:
I was born and raised in Annapolis and my dad was a big waterman, so I spent my whole childhood swimming and going around the bay. As I grew older, I learned it’s in terrible condition. I learned there are people that actually are there, that are involved and it’s something I knew I could see myself being passionate about it as well.

Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: Why did you decide to participate in the CCC program and get involved with the West/Rhode Riverkeeper?
Saffell:
With this job, I hope to be involved in lots of different categories. As I went through all the organizations, I found five I would be interested in. [West/Rhode Riverkeeper] is in the field restoration work, actually being involved in projects, water monitoring—really hands-on, outdoorsy type of work.

Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: What issues specifically face the West/Rhode Riverkeeper and its local waterways?
Saffell:
I’ve been only spending the last week or so here, but the form what I understand, septic systems are a large issue. Upgrading septic systems [is crucial]—basically going from a lot of older septic systems—they are faulty and leak a bit, so getting the updated ones that are efficient at eliminating nutrients.

Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: What’s a “normal” work week like for you?
Saffell:
[Last week] I woke up at 6 a.m., met up with two other volunteers to do water monitoring, hopped on the boat and drove around the Rhode River going around doing water quality monitoring—learning how to use the equipment. I came back, sat in the office for awhile. There’s not real structure quite yet. 

Chuck S September 07, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Biggest polluter of the bay is the state itself! I'm not sure the difference between what Nazi Germany did to convince neighbors to report on neighbors and these volunteer positions of river keepers. Very slippery slope. But it goes along with the use of drones, if you see something say something and the general abuse of power of Md governance!

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