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Is a watershed mentality being taught in our schools?

Schools in northwest Ohio have been adding studies of watershed issues to their curricula in increasing numbers. A major tool for watershed education is a program called the Student Watershed Watch, conducted annually for the past 20 years. In this program, high school students learn how to measure the water quality of streams near their schools. Each school takes measurements on a set day, and then the students meet at a "Watershed summit" in November to compare their results. Dozens of schools are involved in the program and each year, hundreds of students learn about the importance of even the smallest streams. Some teachers do show "A Watershed Mentality" in their classrooms.

Additionally, the University of Toledo (UT) has been operating a 5-year program called "Environmental Science Learning Community at the Land-Lake Ecosystem Interface.” This program is funded by the National Science Foundation and places UT graduate students in area classrooms to help teachers and students learn more about the science of watershed studies.

For more information on the Student Watershed watch, visit  and for more information on the UT program, visit

Thomas Bridgeman, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center