ISLS August Institute

With the success of the June Institute all of the NPMs and faculty eagerly await the August Instititute the second of our 2013 institutes which begins tomorrow and will go until next Friday we have the same activities planned only there is expected to be more teachers this time. This institute is going to run fairly smoothly and we will hopefully end with 100% efficiency with being on board with the ISLS model by the end.

ISLS June Institute

For the past two weeks we had our first of two summer teacher institutes. We met with 13 teachers from the Cleveland Metropolitan area and successfully taught them ORAM, PHWH, and our new protocol ETA, which was well received. Overall the institute was successful and all the teachers are excited for our next meeting in September. We are currently waiting on their Action Research Plans.

ISLS 2013

This year we are working with teachers from the Cleveland Metropolitan area to supply the area with a brand new environmental curricula to be implemented in their schools. We have aligned the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the North East Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) standards, and the current science core curriculm with the protocols for the Primary Headwater Habitat Assessment (PHWH) and the Ohio Rapid Assessment Methods (ORAM). We hope to continue this for the other protocols used previously in the ISLS program. We are also working to develop a  new protocol focusing on trees and their effects on the watershed which we will call Environmental Tree Awareness (ETA). As always we will continue to strive to build our model wetlands and gardens. We hope to have lesson plans up and ready for anyone to come on here and view by the end of this 10 week internship.

UWISLS NPM Ryan Astalos working with the primary headwater found at Hiram College’s James H. Barrow Field Station

Wetland Construction

This week the NPMs worked on reconstructing the wetlands. We were lucky enough to  watch enviroscience reshape two wetlands that were not very practical, due to the steep hill into three wetlands that flow into one another. A berm was developed to intiate the flow of water.

Two jobs were especially important in the maintenance of the reconstructed wetland. One set of NPMs exterminated the invasive narrow-leaved cattails that were invading the wetland. The other group of NPMs picked seeds from specific wetland species, and scattered them across the recosntructed wetland area.

After planting all of the seeds around the new wetland, we received bales of hay and grass seed mix. Once the grass seed was thoroughly distributed, hay was layed down. We look forward to visiting the reconstructed wetlands in the fall to see the progress.


Figure 1: completed wetland

Figure 2: completed wetland


Photos courtesy of James Degroff


UWISLS Featured at SENCER Institute

Near Peer Mentor Vanessa Consolo and Professor Denny Taylor (Hiram College) will represent the Northeast Ohio GLISTEN (Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship Through Education Network) cluster of schools at the SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) summer institute at Santa Clara University August 2-6.  They will present a poster highlighting the Urban Watersheds ISLS 2012 Summer Institute held on West Creek in Parma in June of 2012.  The poster is entitled: “Igniting Streams, Igniting Minds: Fostering collaborations to solve local watershed issues through inquiry-based science”.  Other universities in the Northeast Ohio GLISTEN cluster include the University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, Baldwin Wallace College, and Oberlin College.

SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) is a program funded by the National Science Foundation which applies the science of learning to courses that engage students in active hands on experiences tied to the communities in which they learn.  SENCER courses and programs strengthen student learning  and interest in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics by  connecting course topics to issues of critical local, national, and global  importance.

Urban Watershed ISLS Institute June 11-22, 2012

The ISLS program took a new direction expanding its reach in urban watersheds through a new eight day non-residential institute held on West Creek in Parma in June 2012.  The non-residential institute like its residential predecesor, serves to engage high school participants (students and teachers) in hands-on inquiry-based science.  The purpose of the institute was to engage students and teachers in learning about their own relationship to their own urban watersheds (West Creek and Big Creek).

The UWISLS program is funded by Hiram College, Kent State University, University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, The Gund Foundation via The Alliance for Water Future, The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Cleveland Metroparks, the Cleveland Zoological Society and CLEAN (Collaborative Learning through Environmental Action Network.  High school students and teachers from Parma, Valley Forge, Brooklyn, Rhodes, and John Marshall high schools are participating throughout the 2012-13 academic year.