Teachers from Defiance and Williams counties are taking part in a professional development course to study the Maumee River watershed this week. The goal is to develop meaningful, long-term, classroom-integrated watershed educational experiences for teachers and their students. Local students will then take observations of their watershed, develop research questions, conduct research, and present their results at the SATELLITES Conference at the University of Toledo on May 6, 2020.

“Our data collection is focused on local water quality and its impact on the harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. Data is uploaded to the worldwide GLOBE database, where it can be shared with teachers and students around the world and utilized by NASA scientists to help corroborate satellite monitoring of our planet,” noted Dr. Amanda Gilbert, assistant professor of education at Defiance College.

Leading the professional development course are Kevin Czajkowski, professor of geography at the University of Toledo, and Gilbert. It is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the Great Lakes B-Wet Program.

“Our goal is that our teachers will take what they learn back to their classrooms in the fall and involve their students in similar projects to increase interest in science,” said Gilbert.

DC has a long history of conducting water quality assessment, both locally and globally. Water quality assessment and research has been at the heart of nearly every McMaster initiative for the last 15 years; in developing countries such as Cambodia, Belize, Tanzania, Panama and here in the U.S. Projects that have supported the preservation and monitoring of wetlands and environmental waterways are essential to sustaining marine life, food resources and flood prevention.

Additionally, Dr. Doug Kane, professor of biology and restoration ecology, is an active researcher and publisher on the Lake Erie watershed and algae blooms through his affiliations with Ohio Lake Management Society and through research with colleagues from Ohio State University and the University of Toledo. The health of the Maumee River is of vital importance to DC, the Defiance community and the well-being of Lake Erie.

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