David Bressler Connects Citizens to Science

725 408 Stroud Water Research Center

By Diane Huskinson

David Bressler and Jennie Matkov record stream data
Citizen science facilitator David Bressler, and staff scientist Jennie Matkov record stream data in Monticello, New York. Photo: Shannon Hicks

David Bressler is Stroud™ Water Research Center’s new citizen science facilitator, helping other organizations and their volunteers better monitor the health of their local streams and rivers. “I think science can sometimes be mysterious and because of that a little intimidating,” Bressler says. “Through citizen science, I hope we can make environmental science more accessible, help people better understand the world around them, and show them how their actions impact freshwater resources and ecosystems.”

Before joining the Stroud Center, Bressler worked in freshwater bioassessment and biomonitoring for 16 years at Tetra Tech’s Center for Ecological Studies in Baltimore and Santa Fe. There he analyzed data, led field trainings, and conducted field observations in association with federal, state, and local environmental agencies.

“The diversity of projects I worked on helped me develop an internal sense of the complex dynamics of aquatic ecosystems,” and on the fun side, he adds, “I got to spend a lot of hours driving around on back roads, bushwhacking through the woods, and being out on the water.”

Fly fishing on the limestone streams of Central Pennsylvania, where he grew up, first sparked Bressler’s interest in studying freshwater ecosystems. As an undergraduate, he studied biology and anthropology at Franklin & Marshall College and studied bugs and habitat in Pequea Creek and Trout Run as an honors project. He went on to earn a master’s degree at Duke University, studying stream biotic and abiotic relationships in the Henry’s Fork Watershed in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Bressler recently returned to school, earning a Master of Education in science education from Penn State. “It was in response to a long-term interest in learning, communication, and sociocultural dynamics in relation to science and nature, and that is what led me to citizen science and the Stroud Center.”

He adds, “It’s good being back in southeastern Pennsylvania again among family and friends. I’m thankful and a little surprised to be at the Stroud Center, but it also makes sense.”