Student Watershed Watch

School is back in session and that means hundreds of junior high and high school students are getting into area waterways, counting minnows and testing water for the Student Watershed Watch. The SWW is a two-part program that has been active in northwest Ohio since 1989. In the 2018 program, about 860 students from 22 schools have registered to participate, nearly twice as many students as last year. Water Quality Planner Sara Guiher says that the increase in numbers is due to teachers inviting their peers to participate. “Teachers like the way that the Student Watershed Watch correlates to their curriculum. And their students love it.” New to the SWW this year are three STEM schools (science, technology, engineering & math) in the Toledo Public Schools: Chase, Marshall, and McKinley.

Teacher Lara Fish values the Student Watershed Watch in
her classroom.

In the first part of the SWW, which will take place October 4, students do the field work in waterways throughout the region. They take water samples and measure for pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, e. Coli, and other attributes. They also collect macroinvertebrates: larvae of dragonflies and caddisflies, worms, and other various bugs that live in the streams. The students analyze their raw findings to determine Q value: a scale that rates water quality from that which will not support healthy ecological communities or recreational use, up to healthy water that supports a variety of wildlife.

The second part of the program is the Student Summit, November 9 at the Scott Park Campus of the University of Toledo. At this event, classrooms will present their findings to their peers both in a spoken or video presentation and in tabletop displays. People working in the field of environmental science judge the presentations and make awards based on mastery of the material, creativity, and best overall presentation. Students also attend workshops to learn more about careers in science and the environment.

For more information about the Student Watershed Watch, contact Water Quality Planner Sara Guiher, 419.241.9155 ext. 1126.

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