November & December 2014
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Navarre School Supported by Chrysler

Melody Tsapranis, a science teacher at Navarre Elementary School, was struggling to help her students fully participate in the Student Watershed Watch. Without bus transportation her students had to collect water samples within walking distance, which is a tall riverbank underneath Toledo’s High Level Bridge. Because the river is hard to access, students couldn’t do some of the important measures of water quality including collection of macroinvertebrates from the riverbed. But things are looking up for the Navarre students.

Tom Vallone recently moved to northwest Ohio for his job with Chrysler. He’s the environmental health and safety manager for Chrysler Group LLC. He was looking for a way to support local efforts in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and found the Student Watershed Watch. Matt Horvat, TMACOG Maumee River coordinator and the organizer of the Student Watershed Watch, took Vallone with him to meet with Tsapranis at her collecting site. They saw the steep river bank and poor habitat she was working with and they developed a new plan.

Chrysler and Tom Vallone are supporting Navarre school’s work in the Student Watershed Watch by supplying the testing materials, tools, nets, waders, t-shirts, books, and bus transportation to Side Cut Metropark. The Maumee River at the park is accessible for easy wading and there is a nearby shelter house and other facilities. Chrysler is going far beyond a financial commitment and has also trained several Chrysler employees in data collection and water quality testing procedures so that they can mentor the Navarre students. “Kids learn when they are hands on,” said Vallone. “It’s so effective to get them out of the classroom. And our employees get something out of it, too.” Teacher Melody Tsapranis said she is “blown away” by the corporate support for her science education.


Chrysler employees training to mentor Navarre students. From left, Roger Brown, environmental specialist; Dan Tyburski, UAW-WCM communications; and Jovanna Harris-Johnson, contact engineer.

Caption: Tom Vallone of Chrysler leads a group of Navarre School seventh graders - wearing waders for the first time – into the Maumee River to search for macroinvertebrates.

Students inspect and record their collection of minnows, crawfish, leeches, snails, and larvae.







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