Special Edition


Celebrating 30 Years

Every year since 1989, hundreds of students and teachers in northwest Ohio have engaged in a focused program of water quality study through the Student Watershed Watch. The SWW is a foundational public education program for TMACOG. It trains teachers to apply the scientific method outside of the classroom as part of a larger citizen science project. It introduces students to the natural resources in our region and fosters curiosity, citizenship, and stewardship. More than 20,000 young people have been a part of the program in the last three decades.

How it Works
The Student Watershed Watch provides the training and the materials to teachers. The teachers decide how to incorporate the program into their curriculum. Teachers can use the SWW for a short project for middle-school students, for a semester-long focus of a biology class, or for a special research project for advanced students.

Listen to veteran teacher Tim Bollin explain the value of the program and welcome students.

Whether it’s a week-long study or a long research program, the SWW includes field work and analysis, followed by presentation of results. Field work involves getting into area rivers and streams, collecting samples, and taking measurements. Students note water temperature, weather events, speed of the water, and turbidity. They measure the samples for dissolved oxygen, presence of nitrates and phosphates, and bacteria. The most fun for students is kicking over rocks in the water and collecting the larvae and various macroinvertebrates that live in the stream. All these factors are analyzed to determine the overall Q-value (quality value) of the waterway. Some students are able to attend the Student Summit to share their results with an audience.

30th SWW was Memorable
A congratulatory message from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur welcomed students to the Malawi Event Center November 8, 2019.

Students took over the entire center for the Student Summit, with presentations in front of the beautiful full wall fish aquarium, tabletop presentations against the windows, and workshops in adjacent rooms. The unlimited pizza buffet for lunch was a program highlight. Student presentations included videos, group presentations, skits, and - new this year - three sung presentations: two solo raps and one three-harmony bebop number. Judges were so impressed by the quality of the presentations that they decided to issue three special awards recognizing professionalism, community involvement, and technology.

The after lunch workshop speakers focused on career options for students interested in science and biology. Students had lots of questions about following their dreams and talents, including how much they would expect to be paid.

Sara Guiher, SWW manager and TMACOG water quality planner, concluded the 30-year event with a plan for the year that will focus on stewardship. Teachers will learn more about what that will mean as organizers gear up for the next decades of SWW.

Student Watershed Watch - Student Summit
Winning Presentations

The 2019 Student Watershed Watch involved 860 students in field work and analysis. More than 150 students from 10 classes were able to attend the Student Summit November 9. Classes presented their results from a stage and a group of judges composed of people working in environmental sciences evaluated their work.

Stage Presentations
Tabletop Displays
Best Overall Presentation
West Side Montessori
Best Overall Presentation
Northview High School
Most Informative Presentation
Wildwood Environmental Academy
Most Informative Presentation
Toledo School for the Arts
Most Creative Presentation
Clay High School
Most Creative Presentation
West Side Montessori
Special Award: Future
Professionals Award

Beverly Elementary
Special Award: Best Use
of Technology

Ottawa Hills Elementary

Student Watershed Watch Summit Day Photos

Students judge the tabletop displays created by their peers.

On stage at the Malawi Event Center
at the Toledo Zoo.

More than 150 students and their teachers – and some parents and grandparents – attended the 2019 Student Summit.

Meteorologist Ryan Wichman was the 2019 emcee.

An awesome diorama.

Clay High School honored for the Most Creative presentation.

A special Future Professionals award was granted to Beverly Elementary.

Teacher Dawn Fenicle giving last minute advice to West Side Montessori students.

Wildwood Environmental Academy was recognized for Most Informative presentation.

Fun in the photo booth with Ryan Wichman.

Student Watershed Watch Testing Day Photos

Looking for macroinvertebrates in the Maumee River. The variety and type
of larvae tells students a lot about the relative health of a waterway.

Using a Hach kit to analyze water chemistry: dissolved oxygen,
nitrates and phosphates, bacteria,
and more.

The rocky bottom of the Maumee
River at Farnsworth Metropark is a
good location for collecting macroinvertebrates.

Students at Sylvania Northview High School suspect that water discharge
from an area quarry is affecting water quality in the Ottawa River near their school.

Ottawa Hills Elementary students preparing water samples for testing.

Recording details of findings for later analysis back in the classroom.


Back to Top

To ensure our e-mails reach your inbox, please add public.info@tmacog.org to your address book.

Bookmark and Share

Sign up for our newsletter

Copyright © Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments