Our community workshops are open to the public and offer valuable information given by knowledgable speakers on a wide variety of topics relating to conservation and storm water. Many of these workshops are free, however for those requiring a small fee there is typically a take-away item related to the workshop such as perennial plant packages or rain barrels provided.
Common workshops themes: cover crops (for home gardeners or farmers), natural lawn care and native landscaping, perennial agriculture, riparian zone management, rain gardens, rain barrels, pond care, agroforestry
Portage SWCD often collaborates with other local organizations to make these workshops a reality. Some of these organizations include: the Northern and Ohio Nut growers, the Portage County Master Gardeners, the Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association, the Rural Action Committee, and the Hiram College Field Station.
The "Wonders of Watersheds" is offered every other year, and is slated to return in 2018. Times and locations vary each day, but we typically meet from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm in various locations throughout Geauga and Portage Counties.
During the very busy week, participants receive training and guides for the following curriculums: Project Wet, Project Wild Aquatic, Exploring Streams, and Project Learning Tree. Along with all of the great information, participants have the opportunity to go on many interesting field trips throughout Portage and Geauga Counties! A number of resource specialists from many agencies including ODNR Divisions of Wildlife and Forestry, local park districts, and nearby universities share knowledge and resources throughout this wonderful workshop. Graduate credits are offered through Ashland University.
The “Advanced Wonders of Watersheds” workshop is designed to give teachers an in-depth look at the natural resources of the Great Lakes region and how these resources can be used to create lasting educational experiences for students. This workshop is based at Old Woman Creek Estuary on the shores of Lake Erie in Huron, Ohio. Throughout the 3-day experience, teachers will engage in numerous hands-on environmental science and biology activities lead by many local resource professionals including ODNR Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Geological Survey. Watershed impacts and protection strategies are investigated as we study freshwater inhabitants, explore new ecosystems, and delve into the history and the future of Lake Erie! In addition, all participants will receive Wonders of Wetlands, Flying WILD, and Healthy Water, Healthy People curriculum guides. Graduate credits are offered through Ashland University.
The 2017 Advanced WOW workshop is Monday, June 26 - Wednesday, June 28 at Old Woman Creek Estuary in Huron, Ohio. For more information please contact Lynn at email@example.com
High School Envirothon
The High School Envirothon is a wonderful opportunity for high school students to develop and demonstrate their knowledge of environmental resources and their connection to human activity in a diverse environment while competing in the field rather than on the field. Students will work in teams and practice dealing with complex resource management decisions in areas of focus such as Aquatics, Forestry, Soil/Land use, Wildlife and Current Environmental Issues. A school team must be made up of 5 students and an advisor. There are three main goals of this program:
GOAL 1: To promote a desire to learn more about the natural environment and equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to apply the basic principles and practices of resource management and ecology to complex environmental issues.
GOAL 2: To promote stewardship of natural resources and to encourage the development of the critical thinking, cooperative problem-solving, and decision-making skills required to achieve and maintain a natural balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment.
GOAL 3: To provide students with experience in environmentally-oriented activities, enabling them to become environmentally-aware, action-oriented citizens.
This competition is open to schools of all sizes, private and public and even non-traditional home-schooled students. Any Portage County school district can put together up to two teams of five students with one alternate and an adult advisor. Team registration forms must be completed and returned to our office by Friday, March 24, 2017. This years current environmental issue is "Agricultural Soil and Water Conservation Stewardship" and the competition will be held on Wednesday May 3rd, 2017.
For more information please reach out to Lynn Vogel, Portage Storm Water Educator.
K-12 classroom programs related to soil and water conservation are available from September 1st through mid-December. Availability of staff for classroom programs January through May is very limited, but we will try to accommodate requests.
Classroom Training Materials:
Our office has a number of interactive, hands-on training kits available for classroom use. Portage County Educators may reserve materials on a first-come basis. Materials include:
- Drinking Water and Waste Water Treatment
- Watershed/Non-point Pollution
- Simulated Stream Table
Stream Monitoring Equipment
Incredible Journey Kits
Don't See what you need? Our staff is eager to work with you to develop activities to meet your conservation education goals. Requests for classroom supplies needed for conservation education woll be considered at our monthly board meetings which are held the first Thursday of each month. Funds are also available to help with related field trip costs. Email your request to Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Storm Water Grant
Storm Water Credit for Schools within the Portage County Storm Water District
The purpose of the Portage Storm Water District education credit system is to encourage and support the implementation of water quality education programs that foster civic responsibility and environmental stewardship resulting in improved local water quality.
The Storm Water Credit program for eligible schools provides a reduction of the school district’s annual storm water utility fee proportional to the participation of the school. Reductions of 25%, 50% and 75% are available. Schools participating at the 75% reduction level may also request grant funds for storm water education or for installation of water quality best management practices (BMP’s). For more information or to apply for the Storm Water Credit Program for Schools, please contact our office.
The following school districts have consulted with Portage Soil & Water Conservation District to develop storm water management and education plans that included grant funds from the Portage County Storm Water District:
Waterloo Local School District received $26,628.00 in July of 2012 to install a land-lab nature trail on the K-12 campus. Grant funds also provided lab equipment for high school science and math classes. A kiosk built on pervious concrete installed at the football field entrance provides trail maps and educational materials relating to storm water management.
Crestwood Local School District received $24,989.00 in June of 2012 to adapt an existing storm water bio-retention area to create seasonally wet zones for outdoor exploration of amphibians and aquatic macroinvertebrates. Go-Pro Cameras with underwater features allow students to observe and record real time data. Additional classroom supplies provided by grant funds include sampling equipment for classroom study. Feeding stations and birdhouses were added to attract wildlife for further study.
Field Local School District received $23,383.50 in September of 2012 to develop a wetland land lab for cross-curricular lessons in science, art, and computer technology. A boardwalk was added to allow students of all abilities to participate in water and macroinvertebrate sampling. Stadium seating for 30 students was added for outdoor education. Student backpacks equipped with binoculars, digital cameras, hand magnifiers and sample collection and recording equipment were purchased with the grant funds. Feeding stations and birdhouses were added to attract wildlife.
Southeast Local School District received $26,600.00 in February 2016 for a cover crop research project which includes equipment to measure the amount of storm water leaving the field under various crop management strategies. Grant funds also provided funds to clear two sites to allow for installation of perennial crop plants and improved access to a nature trail. Work in progress
James A. Garfield Local School District received $23,955.36 for installation of a Rain Garden and a woodland nature trail and land lab. The grant provided funds for field collection and classroom study of water and biological samples. The scope of work is still in progress and will include interpretative signs designed by high school art students for the nature trail. Native plants being propagated by fifth grade students and weather monitoring equipment (wind socks, thermometers, rain gages) will be added to the rain garden.