November & December
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Student Watershed Watch

What has three tails, six legs, and lives under rocks in the waters of Hill Ditch? Students from the Natural Science Technology Center, a Toledo Public School, consulted pages of illustrations and concluded it was a damsel fly nymph.

Identifying macroinvertebrates is one of the many steps students take to evaluate water quality as part of the annual Student Watershed Watch (SWW). Testing day for most schools was October 5. Grade school and high school students and their teachers tested waterways throughout the region. They measured dissolved oxygen, acidity (pH), checked for the presence of phosphates and E.coli, and determined turbidity. They used floating apples or rubber ducks to measure the current velocity.

The students taking classes at the Natural Science Technology Center worked in Hill Ditch which is a tributary of the Ottawa River near the Toledo Botanical Garden. After a day in the field, students return to classrooms to analyze and chart their findings. They will announce their findings at the Student Summit, to be held November 10 at the University of Toledo Scott Park campus.

This was the first year in the Student Watershed Watch for Laura Schetter, teacher of eleventh- and twelfth-grade students at the Natural Science Technology Center. The SWW matches up with her curriculum. She said, “The students need to learn environmental problems and solutions. By experiencing the stream firsthand, they are now more attached and interested in water. They care a little more. They want to understand the {testing} results to know how to make their schoolyard environment better.”

Teachers Bryan Ellis (in hat) and Laura Schetter (in purple shirt), help their
students find living things in material that they collected with a fabric net.

Students make sure that the net is on the streambed before kicking over
rocks to release macroinvertebrates.

Fourth graders from Byrnedale Elementary record their data findings.

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