Students to share research April 14 at annual Fox River Watershed symposium

Nearly one hundred students and teachers from participating Northeastern Wisconsin high schools will spend the day on the UW-Green Bay campus Tuesday, April 14, for the 12th annual Student Watershed Symposium.

The symposium brings together the high schoolers and UW-Green Bay faculty researchers who partner on monitoring the health of the Fox River basin through the initiative known as the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program. The day’s activities run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with the morning presentations in the Phoenix Rooms of the University Union free and open to the public. In the afternoon, participating students will have the opportunity to tour UW-Green Bay’s Richter Museum of Natural History and Fewless Herbarium, take part in a frog-monitoring workshop, and compete in a quiz bowl.

Among the highlights of the annual event is the opportunity for the high schools to share reports on their respective monitoring projects. The list of student presentations for Tuesday:

Duck Creek Team: Website — Students from Green Bay Southwest H.S. have created a website for their science club that showcases their involvement with LFRWMP.
Trout Creek Team: Public Awareness — Students from Pulaski H.S. have created videos promoting public awareness on issues such as nutrient pollution, dead zones, PCB cleanup and northern pike restoration.
Spring Brook Team: Nitrates by the Stream — Students from Oshkosh North H.S. have investigated the cause of high nitrate levels in “their” stream, and contacted landowners near the brook to identify potential sources.
Ashwaubenon Creek: Frogs, Their Importance and Why We Monitor — An introduction to frogs and their importance to watershed ecosystems by Green Bay East H.S. student Jermaine Toliver-Marx.

Additionally, participating schools will also display research posters related to their monitoring work. Topics include testing that shows Ashwaubenon Creek’s clay bottom, among other factors, limits its suitability for crustaceans and other beneficial species; research indicating Dutchman’s Creek has water quality and habitat deficiencies that keep fish from thriving; and an analysis of upstream watershed improvement projects affecting Trout Creek.

The symposium opens with a keynote presentation by Chelsea Gunther, Jesse Weinzinger and Tom Prestby — graduate students in UW-Green Bay’s Environmental Science and Policy master’s degree program — in which they’ll describe their research work involving the restoration of the Cat Island Chain in the lower bay just off the mouth of the Fox River. Following completion of protective islands and dikes intended to support better wetland and shallow-water habitat, Gunther and Weinzinger are finding evidence of increased aquatic plant diversity, and Prestby is documenting the return of migratory shorebird populations.

The main goal of the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program is to increase the amount and quality of long-term watershed data to guide resource management decisions and help predict impacts on the ecosystem. It also is designed to enhance student, teacher and community understanding and stewardship of the watershed. Partner high schools are Appleton East, Appleton North, Ashwaubenon, Green Bay East, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Luxemburg-Casco, Oneida Nation, Oshkosh North, Pulaski and West De Pere.

Both the symposium and Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program are partially supported by donations from Windward Prospects Ltd. (formerly Arjo Wiggins Appleton Ltd.) and Nicolet National Bank, and the sponsorship of the UW-Green Bay Natural and Applied Sciences academic unit and the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity.

For more information, contact Whitney Passint at UW-Green Bay by phone at (920) 465-5031. A complete schedule for the day and additional detail on the projects is available.

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