Student Watershed Watch
TMACOG’s Student Watershed Watch annually brings hundreds of junior high school and high school students out of the classroom to experience environmental field work, learn to analyze their data, and to present it to a group of their peers. The goal of the long-running program is to create the next generation of environmental stewards and show young people careers in environmental fields, from university instructor, to EPA disaster clean up team, to snake expert on the Lake Erie islands.
Testing day for students was Thursday, October 17. Testing day is when students collect samples and make measurements. With direction from trained teachers, the students check for water turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH. They measure nutrients including phosphorus and nitrogen, and measure the amount of bacteria. In the stream, students measure the depth and width of the waterway, speed of the water, and collect benthic macroinvertebrates from the stream bed. Back in the classroom, all the data is reviewed and analyzed. In many cases, schools have data going back more than a decade that they can use to judge trends.
The Student Summit is November 21 at the University of Toledo’s Scott Park Campus. The keynote speaker for the 24th annual summit is Greg Lipps. He studies hellbenders, a type of aquatic salamander historically found in water systems draining to the Ohio River. The species is listed as endangered by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Hundreds of students will gather to hear from Mr. Lipps and to hear presentations from participating classes, see tabletop poster displays, and attend workshops. Judges will evaluate the spoken presentations and present awards for most informative, most creative, and best overall. Students evaluate and determine awards for the table top displays.