Nearly 60 outdoor enthusiasts from southwest Montana come together four times a year to study, enjoy, and protect the Gallatin River as it washes the mountains down to the Missouri.
These volunteers visit assigned locations within the Gallatin watershed, collecting water samples to be analyzed for presence and quantity of microplastics—minuscule pieces that scratch, flake, fall, or otherwise wear off any number of plastic-containing products we use every day.
Photographer Louise Johns joined two groups of volunteers recently as they headed out to their assigned sampling sites in the middle of winter. Her images give you a sense of what it means to be a volunteer for the ASC Gallatin Microplastics Initiative.
Note: Even though participants may wear synthetic clothing to stay safe in the winter weather or sample from plastic kayaks, ASC takes specific precautions to limit sample contamination including documenting what is worn in the field and filling bottles on the upstream side of the collector. For more detailed information please read the Microplastics FAQs.