Bob Hudkins has been volunteering with Sound Rivers for 25 years, and this is his first year as a Swim Guide water-sampling volunteer. According to water-quality intern Will Shingleton, Bob has gone above and beyond the Swim Guide call of duty, coordinating a group of high school and college students to help take samples, then Bob transports them from Rocky Mount to Greenville, where they are handed off to another volunteer to deliver for testing in Washington.
Q: Can you give us a little background about yourself (where you live, your professional background, your relationship with waterways in the Neuse/Tar-Pamlico watersheds)?
A: I taught environmental science at Rocky Mount High School for 26 years … when I retired, I stayed active. I worked with Joe Hester and Besty (Hester) and Heather (Deck), doing some work with water quality and macroinvertebrates with our students, so Heather came out a few times to our classroom. I stayed active and stayed in touch with her and started volunteering.
Q: Why did you decide to get involved in sampling?
A: (Sound Rivers) needed to somebody to do some (Swim Guide) work in Nash County, and I was familiar with both sites. … We’ve got some students that are still enrolled in high school and need some hours for their IB program that they’re in currently at Rocky Mount High School. These students help us out three or four times a month on Thursday mornings; they’re reliable, they’re punctual — that’s pretty good for young teenagers at 7 o’clock in the morning on Thursday mornings, to get them to come out to the reservoir. They seem to enjoy it.
(Six volunteers are high school students; two are former students of Sound Rivers’ board member Betsy Hester, who are now sampling for college credit).
Q: What do you think Swim Guide provides to the general public?
A: Knowledge of the river and awareness of the water and the water quality. It helps people be more aware of the natural resources that we have available in Nash County.
Thank you, Bob, and our many other volunteers, for your dedication to water quality!