Defiance College partners with the University of Toledo to aid local teachers in studying water quality

June 19, 2019Seven teachers sitting around tables with books, notebooks, and laptops. A man is standing in the back, speaking to them.

DEFIANCE, Ohio - 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.
A blonde woman writing on a green chalkboard with a piece of white chalk.

Leading the professional development course are Kevin Czajkowski, professor of geography at the University of Toledo, and Dr. 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 Dr. Gilbert. Teachers participating in the course had the opportunity to perform hands-on water testing of the Maumee River in Defiance.

Defiance College 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, and Panama, and right 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.
Five women standing near the Maumee river bank with equipment to test the water.

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 Defiance College, the Defiance community, and to the well-being of Lake Erie.

Chartered in 1850, Defiance College is an independent, liberal arts-based institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The College is guided by the four pillars of its mission: To Know, To Understand, To Lead, and To Serve. The College website is