The Old Woman Creek NERR education program seeks to enhance people’s willingness to make informed decisions and take responsible actions to benefit Lake Erie coastal ecosystems and communities. Programs emphasize hands-on scientific learning for a range of audiences in our “outdoor classrooms”: the Old Woman Creek estuary, stream, barrier beach, and near-shore Lake Erie. Participants use seine and plankton nets, microscopes and water quality testing equipment to increase understanding of the complex ecology of a freshwater estuary and foster their connection to these natural resources and their responsibilities as environmental stewards.
Estuary Explorations Community Programs- Free educational programs open to the public include guided hikes, canoe tours, nature art classes, and hands-on rain garden and rain barrel workshops. See the Visitor Information page for a downloadable PDF copy, or consult our electronic calendar above for individual listings.
Volunteer Stream Monitoring - Old Woman Creek NERR partners with the Firelands Coastal Tributary Watershed Project to train citizens to monitor water quality in Old Woman Creek and neighboring streams.
Opportunities for K12 Students
Programs focused on wetland ecology, watersheds, and water resource stewardship are provided upon request for teachers, schools, colleges, and universities. In the water experiences are also available. Programs meet Ohio Academic Science Standards and resource materials are made available to educators prior to on-site programs. Example offerings: Understanding Climate Impacts on Wildlife, Great Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species, Comparing & Contrasting Estuaries Around the U.S., Water Pollution, Wetlands Ecology, Habitat Loss and Wildlife.
Note programs must be secured at least three months in advance to allow adequate time for planning and scheduling of education staff and trained volunteers.
Teacher Professional Development Opportunities
All professional development opportunities are held in partnership using NOAA resource materials developed by Education Coordinators from all 28 states within the National Estuarine Research Reserve System network, including OWC NERR Education staff. Please find these web resources at www.estuaries.noaa.gov
*Project Wild/Aquatic Wild Workshop, June 13-14, 2014, Old Woman Creek Visitor Center
This two day workshop will feature Project Wild and Project Aquatic Wild coupled
with Estuaries 101 activities. This is held in partnership with ODNR Division of
*Wonders of Watersheds, June 23-25, 2014, Old Woman Creek Visitor Center
This three day offering will feature local Soil & Water Conservation District education
materials coupled with Estuaries 101 activities. This is held in partnership with SWCD
staff from Northeastern Ohio.
Grants for K-12 Student School Field Trips
The Friends of Old Woman Creek has established a grant program to support k-12 environmental education field trips to Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Field trip programs at OWC NERR emphasize hands-on scientific learning. Real NOAA buoy data is used, as well as OWC data.
Each grant will help defray transportation costs associated with half or one-day field trips for at least one classroom. Eligible applicants are local school groups during the regular school year. Grant amounts of $150 per school are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Grants are awarded at the discretio of the Friends of Old Woman Creek board.
Lake Erie Partnership for Education and Outreach
NOAA-funded agencies in Ohio have partnered to develop a unified education and outreach plan for Lake Erie and its watershed. The partners committed to this effort include: the Office of Coastal Management (OCM), Old Woman Creek (OWC) National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program (OSG). Although not directly funded by NOAA, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC) is also a dedicated partner in this effort. The specific programs and activities administered by these agencies include the Ohio Coastal Management Program, the Ohio Coastal Training Program, the Ohio Clean Marinas Program, the Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Plan, and the Lake Erie Balanced Growth Program.
The four entities’ (OCM, OWC, OSG and OLEC) five year outreach and education plan will actively engage coastal constituents in an effort to build knowledge on topics relevant to Ohio’s role in the Great Lakes coastal ecosystem in order to achieve greater environmental literacy, personal safety and an improved economy for the Buckeye State. The plan will also create efficiencies within all four organizations through more accurate outreach materials, less staff required at public events, increased public knowledge of the agencies and issues, clear lines of communication, and minimized duplication of efforts.
Education and Outreach Partnership Goals:
- Educate Ohio’s coastal area decision makers, residents and visitors about Lake Erie and its coastal resources.
- Educate Ohio’s coastal area decision makers, residents and visitors about the many competing forces for use and preservation of Lake Erie’s coastal resources.
- Encourage Ohio’s coastal area decision makers, residents and visitors to integrate coastal stewardship concepts and actions into their lives and decisions.
- Instill a sense of ownership among coastal area residents, decision makers and visitors.
Environmental Education Resources
Center for Ocean Science Excellence in Education - Great Lakes
Lake Erie Literacy Principles and Concepts
Old Woman Creek NERR
2514 Cleveland Road East
Huron, Ohio 44839