June & July 2014
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Northwood Public Schools and TMACOG Partner for Environmental Education

Northwood Public Schools is expanding its science offerings and TMACOG is part of the curriculum. The seventh grade students of teacher Lara Fish have been working on water quality studies over the course of the school year. Among other activities, students have been sampling and testing the water of Wolf Creek/Berger Ditch which runs by their school. The creek has been identified as one source of bacteria which is thought to contribute to the posting of Lake Erie beaches at nearby Maumee Bay State Park. In additional to bacteria, waterways that drain from northwest Ohio into the Maumee Bay carry sediment. Sediment can convey excess nutrients including phosphorus, which is implicated in harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie.

Matt Horvat, Maumee River Coordinator at TMACOG, is providing teacher training and testing materials for the classroom of Ms. Fish. Materials provided include secchi discs, thermometers, and chemicals that can identify pH values and nutrients. Horvat manages the Student Watershed Watch, a student water quality program that usually takes place in the fall. He said, “The water quality testing that students do for the Student Watershed Watch is usually limited to a unit with just a few testing opportunities over several weeks. In Northwood, environmental education is happening all year long.”

Veteran seventh grade teacher Lara Fish is dedicated to science and health education. She stated in her blog, “I want students to take a stand and have scientific passion to make the world a better place for future generations.”

For her work involving TMACOG and water quality testing, Ms. Fish has been awarded the Eco-Educator award from the Science Alliance for Valuing the Environment. S.A.V.E. is a not-for-profit organization founded by Sister Rosine Sobczak of Lourdes University. The award is one of five presented annually to acknowledge individuals, schools, and communities who are committed to preserving the environment.

The City of Northwood and Lourdes University are members of TMACOG. TMACOG facilitates the Wolf Creek/Berger Ditch committee and an ongoing wetland project at Maumee Bay State Park.

Matt Horvat, TMACOG Maumee River Coordinator, demonstrates how to read water quality testing materials. He is providing training for Northwood teacher Lara Fish.

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