Students test water quality of local streams

Hundreds of students from 14 area schools took part Wednesday in the 21st annual Student Watershed Watch.

The perennial event, sponsored by the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) is designed to not only keep watch on the area's watershed quality, but to give students a hands-on learning opportunity about the area's ecosystem. Students from Ottawa Hills High School, for example, took measure of the Ottawa River where it passes under the bridge at Evergreen Road. Their task was to measure turbidity levels, temperatures, oxygen levels and to look for fish and invertebrates in the water.

Downstream is where students from the Toledo Early College High School were also performing the same tests, getting a chance to don some waders and actually trek out into the river currents to take samples. "I think they'll learn an appreciation for what it takes to make a good river," said Kathy Singler, the Ottawa Hills Biology teacher who helped guide her students through the experiments and data collection.

Matt Horvat, of TMACOG, who has coordinated the program in recent years, says "Its a great way for the students to actually see how things connect, through nature and science and the community".

The University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center played a role as well. Through a National Foundation grant of over two million dollars, Lake Erie Center Director Carol Stepien says the center is able to fund grad students and testing equipment for eight different schools.

Schools involved in the Watershed Watch this year will analyze their data and samples and then present their findings at the annual summit on Nov. 16 at the University of Toledo. Those schools taking part this year included, Clay High School, Northview-Sylvania, Ottawa Hills, Maritime Academy, Whitmer, Start, Scott, Bowsher, Eastwood, The Toledo Islamic Academy,Maumee Valley Country Day School, TECHS.