Toledo area high school students to examine local streams

October 4, 2011 | Research, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham



Toledo-area high school students will wade into local streams this week to take water samples and test the health of local aquatic ecosystems.

More than 250 students are expected to participate in The University of Toledo Lake Erie Center’s component of the Student Watershed Watch, which is a Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments program designed to help students learn about local stream ecosystems.

The students will test the streams Tuesday, Oct. 18, and Wednesday, Oct. 19, for temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH and many other parameters to determine the health of the water and ecosystem. The results of the sampling will be presented at the Student Watershed Watch Summit Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the University, where participating schools will release and compare their findings.

Through a National Science Foundation K-12 grant, the UT Lake Erie Center sponsors eight area schools, providing the equipment for stream sampling and expanding the educational experience of students through the project’s learning community. Eight graduate student fellows work in partnership with high school science teachers, spending time in the classroom and helping to guide students through the watershed watch program.

“Student Watershed Watch is a great hands-on experience for kids to get their feet wet and their eyes open to their local environment. Throughout our program, we have found that this experience changes students’ lives,” said Dr. Carol Stepien, UT professor of ecology and director of the Lake Erie Center, who is the K-12 principle investigator and project director. “The students gain an appreciation for the nature around them and the problems of water run-off, pollution and resilience.”

Schools participating in the UT-sponsored portion of the 22nd Annual Student Watershed Watch include Bowsher High School, Central Catholic High School, Clay High School, Northview High School, Ottawa Hills High School, Start High School and Toledo Early College High School.