It was a school day, but some Perrysburg students were out and about, wading in river water.
The wet adventure was part of hands-on, and feet-in, activities as members of the Perrysburg High School Environmental Club performed water quality tests during the annual Student Watershed Watch.
The Student Watershed Watch, nearing its 25th year, teaches students about water quality through testing and presentation of findings. Each year, the Student Watershed Watch brings hundreds of students together from urban and rural school districts in the Maumee area of concern to learn about the local environment.
The program has two main parts. On testing day, which was today, students from several schools fanned out to watersheds across northwest Ohio.
Perrysburg students went into the Maumee River from Hood Park, at the foot of Louisiana Avenue in Perrysburg, behind the statue of Commodore Perry, beginning at about 3:30 p.m. today. By that time, the skies had cleared and the rain had stopped. Some students from other schools who are taking part in the Student Watershed Watch were soaked from the rain earlier today as they conducted surveys at other river or stream sites.
Highlights of this two-part program include water quality testing performed by junior and senior high school classes at local stream and river sites. Students test for temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, and many other parameters using standardized test kits to determine the health of the water.
Samples are collected from stream or river bottoms, such as samples of larvae and macroinvertebrates which can be an indication of water quality. Students spend time analyzing macroinvertebrate communities.
Returning to the classroom, students compare their findings with previous years’, chart the data, and make an analysis of water quality. Some schools have been testing the same locations for two decades and have acquired significant data. Many classrooms will be looking to solve a problem statement or question that the class has developed.
For the second part of the Student Watershed Watch, the students will gather Nov. 14 to present their findings during a summit at the University of Toledo Scott Park campus. During the summit student representatives from participating schools release and compare their results. Students also have an opportunity to network with their peers and local professionals during the poster and workshop sessions of the summit.
According to its Web site, the Student Watershed Watch helps this region’s young people to appreciate area streams so that they may become wise stewards.