Student Watershed WatchThe cornerstone of our NSF Gk-12 program, Student Watershed Watch (SWW) is an exciting, hands-on learning experience that gives Toledo-area high school students the opportunity to be field scientists. On SWW sampling day, students don waders and river boots and head out to local streams to test water quality and examine the aquatic ecosystem health.
SWW is a Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments program designed to educate students about local stream ecosystems. Through our NSF Gk-12 program, we have expanded the scientific aspects of SWW, provided leadership and mentorship through our graduate student fellows, and enhanced the project's educational impacts through our Environmental Science Learning Community.
Through our NSF Gk-12 grant, we sponsor 8 area high school groups, providing equipment, guidance, leadership and scientific expertise. Schools participating in this year's SWW include: Bowsher High School, Central Catholic High School, Clay High School, Northview High School, Ottawa Hills High School, Start High School and Toledo Early College High School (2 groups) -- spanning a rural-suburban-urban gradient.
“SWW is a great hands-on experience for kids to get their feet wet and their eyes open to their local environment. Throughout our program, we have found that this experience changes students' lives,” said Dr. Carol Stepien, director of the UT Lake Erie Center and Principle Investigator of our Gk-12 program. “The students gain an appreciation for the nature around them and the problems of water run-off, pollution and resilience.”
Students have the chance to test streams for temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH levels and many other properties to discover the overall quality of the water. Back in the classroom, students and their teachers analyze and discuss the results -- then they assemble their findings into creative presentations for the Student Watershed Watch Summit, where the students take the stage, as at a scientific conference. This year, the SWW Summit took place on our Scott Park campus on November 14, 2012.