Gateway Middle School Students Get Dirty Cleaning Up The Maumee River

Gateway student Gabe Bechstein was one of many middle schoolers who helped clean up the Maumee River a few weeks ago. PHOTOS COURTESY OF MAUMEE CITY SCHOOLS
As part of the river cleanup, the Gateway students will do a pre- and post-survey of the trash collected. They will return in May after the annual walleye run fishing event to determine the impact the anglers have on the area. Gateway students Paul Yarberry (left), Cierra Flores (center) and Bailey White spent time in class sorting and tallying the trash they had found as part of the pre-survey.

Seventh-grade students at Gateway Middle School spent a recent morning cleaning up marine debris (litter near or in water) along the Maumee banks of the Maumee River as part of their studies in science class. 

Thanks to a grant project funded through the Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL), teachers Mike Dick (Gateway Middle School, Maumee) and Amy Boros (Hull Prairie Intermediate School, Perrysburg) are leading students at each of their schools through lessons about marine debris and its impact on local waterways, specifically the Maumee River. 

Every spring, thousands of anglers descend upon Northwest Ohio to fish for walleye in the river. Students learned about the annual walleye run and the economic benefits that this fishing event brings to the local communities by interviewing Mario Campos at Maumee Bait and Tackle. 

The students then wondered what kind of impact all those anglers have on the trash profile along the river. To determine the environmental impact, 24 student members of the HPI Environmental Club and 45 seventh-grade students at Gateway Middle School went on a trash-finding expedition in early March.

Maumee students collected over 56 pounds of litter along the Maumee banks of the river between White Street and the I-475 overpass. Both groups did a thorough item analysis, documenting each and every piece of trash.  

On the other side of the river, Perrysburg students collected over 60 pounds of litter between Fort Meigs and Orleans Park along a 1-mile stretch of the Perrysburg side of the Maumee River. 

Students plan to return to the same locations along the river in May to collect and analyze litter data. The May date allows students to complete a pre/post-survey for the annual walleye run fishing event. They hope to answer the question: How do the anglers impact the shoreline of the Maumee River during the walleye run? 

Funding is provided by the Center for Great Lakes Literacy, which is the umbrella group of education and outreach professionals who work for the seven Great Lakes Sea Grant programs. The purpose of CGLL is to develop a community of Great Lakes-literate educators, students, scientists, environmental professionals and citizen volunteers dedicated to improved Great Lakes stewardship. 

The CGLL program originated as the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Great Lakes, which was funded for five years by the National Science Foundation and a NOAA sea grant. This program has connected thousands of educators with hundreds of researchers across the basin.

CGLL continues to broaden its efforts to sustain and expand its community of practice by engaging Great Lakes educators, scientists, students and citizen science groups. The end goal is stewardship of our greatest freshwater resource.

As such, CGLL is well-positioned to help disseminate materials, knowledge and resources across its geographic range, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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