Rockiní and Rolliní: School & Community NE Ohio Watershed Investigations
Lake and Geauga Counties, OH

Grantee: James H. Porter Center for Science and Mathematics
Basin Program Funds: $6,500
Non-federal Funds: $10,853
Project Duration: 07/2002 - 11/2004
Status: complete

Problem Statement
While erosion and sedimentation are not unique problems in our area, Lake and Geauga Counties have experienced growth in construction and development in our communities and lake front areas. There is a greater need for education about pollution from run-off, drainage patterns and transportation of materials throughout our part of the Great Lakes Basin. The key to effective management is information, beginning in the class room. Information and education may even be more effective than regulation.

Students need to be exposed to real life problems and methods of control. Teachers need to be more aware of these issues and the materials and teaching methods to use in the classroom. Classes need to recognize relationships between many geographic areas and the "domino effect" of landform occurrences. The challenge is to create a "user-friendly" and fun program that imparts information as well as providing motivation for conservation and other good environmental practices.

The James H. Porter Center currently teaches two lessons related to topics such as erosion and water quality. "Forces that Change the Earth" is a mandatory curriculum extension for all fourth graders in each of the Lake and Geauga county public schools (56 schools, 165 classes which is about 3600 students). The program facilitates hands-on examination of differing soil types in our counties and the explores uses and problems of each soil type. "Which Water is for You" is currently a hand-on Family Science Night outreach program where students make observations about the chemical and physical properties of water (from pH to taste), and then determine the best method for filtering the water as well as tracing a drop of water throughout the watershed to Lake Erie.

This project will provide education for students, teachers and families by developing an interactive two-county water cycle relief map; improve existing experiments for students to test erosion and sedimentation controls; and link water quality explorations to nonpoint pollution and sedimentation and stormdrains. It will collect and share information by creating an interactive website and a conservation packet; provide in-service training for teachers on erosion at the Porter Center into the Watershed Conservation Project; and encourage the families of the 12,000 students we reach to become more familiar with erosion and water quality through Family Science Nights. The project will collaborate with several area soil and water conservation and pollution control agencies to produce a training videotape and materials to include real life examples and solutions, and use expert consultants and materials from these organizations for both teacher training and family science outreach.

The Porter Center has completed our "Forces that Change the Earth" lesson under this grant. We have built stream tables for the students to use when they visit our Center. Teams of students use the stream tables to observe, predict, and prevent patterns of water erosion with different control devices. We have also built small-scale models of the stream tables for teachers to use as part of extended classroom lessons. In addition, we have created two lending library kits called "Movin and Groovin: Erosion Forces" and "Runaway Soil". These kits contain hands-on erosion activities that teachers can use in their own classrooms. A website was established challenging students to determine the soil type and erosion rate of the soil at their school. Forty-eight students responded to the soil survey.

We hosted a Family Science Night at a Geauga county elementary school with the 50 parents and children in attendance. We have established a relationship with a number of agencies and local companies who have donated supplies, materials, time and expertise when needed. A water filtration workshop was hosted in conjunction with Partners in Science Excellence, which offer grants to teachers. PSE is a consortium of local businesses promoting science and technology education in our area. Our Distance Learning Program has expanded to over 15 counties in the state.

Contact: Ms. Michelle Haag, 440-352-8850


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner