Otsego Junior High School seventh graders participate in a water quality testing exercise with Eric Kostecky, TMACOG water quality planner.

TOLEDO — Students from schools across Northwest Ohio who collected and tested water samples this fall assembled Nov. 4 for the Student Watershed Watch Summit at the Toledo Zoo.

Seventh graders from Otsego Junior High School won for Most Creative Presentation for a video that students created with an “Octonauts” theme. A student drew the background used in the group’s video, and each student wore a picture of the character they were representing.

This was the 33rd year for the Student Watershed Watch and the first in-person summit since 2019.

Over several weeks in September and October, more than a dozen teachers and nearly 600 students visited area waterways to collect samples and measure dissolved oxygen, acidity, turbidity, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and other parameters that provide insight into water quality. At the summit, classrooms share and discuss the data they collected, meet with professionals working in environmental fields, and network with their peers.

Students earned awards for the most creative and informative presentations and displays. This year’s winners include:

• Best Overall Presentation: Wildwood Environmental Academy

• Most Creative Presentation: Otsego Junior High School

• Most Informative Presentation: Beverly Elementary School

Although several years of Student Watershed Watch Summits were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and students have still been collecting data and learning about our water resources.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments water quality planner Sara Guiher, who leads the project, spoke about the great work that has happened through Student Watershed Watch in the last few years and explained behind-the-scenes efforts that are providing new equipment and a connection to water quality monitoring programs all around Lake Erie.

WTVG-TV meteorologist Ross Ellet was the emcee for this year’s summit, which also included career-related presentations from Erika Buri, director of the Olander Park System; LaShawna Weeks, environmental specialist for the City of Toledo; and Theresa Pollick and Emily Freeman from Northwestern Water and Sewer District.

The Student Watershed Watch has a long record of strong support from teachers and environmental professionals, as well as sponsors who provide essential support, including The Andersons, BP Husky, the City of Toledo, General Motors, the Lucas County Engineer’s Office, Lucas Soil & Water Conservation District, Mannik & Smith, Ohio EPA and the zoo.

Learn more about Student Watershed Watch at https://tmacog.org/water/student-watershed-watch.