The Winous Point Marsh Conservancy on Sandusky Bay in Port Clinton gave the Port Clinton Middle School Fleet 7 Science students in teacher Jared Rhode’s science classes the unique opportunity to visit the historic marshland. The students learned the history of the wetlands and experienced valuable insights into studies done at Winous Point on how to sustain its wetlands and protect Lake Erie.
The Winous Point staff, plus veterinarians and researchers from The Ohio State University, showed students how they teamed up to examine local populations of fish. Specifically, researchers were checking for parasitism across populations and looking at white blood cell counts to check the health of populations.
They gained knowledge of the studies regarding King Rails and their nesting success, Great Lakes mallards, and common terns.
“As part of the lesson, students were all given a specific animal, which they had to search for in the local marsh ecosystem,” said Rhode. “Once found, they answered many questions related to how the animal gains energy, what other animals it may interact with, and the adaptations it needs to survive.”
Students also tested bay and lake water, and compared it to the water found in the local marshland. When tested, students found evidence that the marshland “filters” agricultural runoff, thus reducing the amount of phosphates, nitrates and nitrites in there water. Such evidence highlights the importance of local marshlands in preventing harmful algal blooms.
Since 1856, Winous Point has been at the forefront of waterfowl and wetlands conservation. As steward of one of the largest wetlands remaining in the state of Ohio, Winous Point’s history of innovation provides a compelling example of the private contribution to wetland conservation.
In Ohio, Winous Point helped pioneer establishment of wetland protection, restoration, and management strategies, academic research in wetlands, and migratory bird regulations. Most recently, the non-profit Winous Point Marsh Conservancy was established in 1999 to meet the mounting challenges to wetland conservation in southwest Lake Erie.