Magazine article Techniques

Developing a New Wetland Habitat

Magazine article Techniques

Developing a New Wetland Habitat

Article excerpt

AT OHIO'S MIAMI VALLEY CAREER TECHNOLOGY CENTER, STUDENTS AND STAFF ARE FINDING WAYS BOTH LARGE AND SMALL TO HELP PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT.

When students and staff from the Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) in clayton, Ohio, teamed up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Soil and Water Conservation District in southwest Ohio, they made a real difference in the wetland environment on the school's property.

The goals of the wetland project were to replace a poorly functioning tile system and develop two wetland areas for local and migratory wildlife. The environmental/natural resources students at MVCTC assisted the Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District (which had three of the MVCTC environmental science graduates on staff) in selecting the site on the campus based on hydric soil conditions. The students also assisted with the design and survey for the new wetland.

Clearing the Way

Work began in the spring of 2002. The environmental/natural resources students learned tree-felling techniques as well as chainsaw-operation skills, and then cleared and prepared the site for excavation.

Construction of the wetland site began in the fall of 2002, with the MVCTC heavy equipment operator students completing the excavation work.

"It was a big project for the students, but they learned a great deal, and their work resulted in improved drainage of the school's crop land and improved water quality in the existing pond," says Ron Kauffman, heavy equipment operator instructor at MVCTC.

The first phase of the wetland was completed in the spring of 2003 with a massive hatch of American toads. There were at least 10 known species of aquatic insects found in numbers not previously seen in the pond and stream that form part of the land lab used for the environmental/natural resources students. The final phase of the wetland project was completed in the spring of 2004.

Living Proof

Today, wood ducks, tree swallows and Canada geese nest at the wetlands in the artificial nest structures. During the construction phase, beaver tracks were observed, and beaver can now be seen in and around the wetland area. Many species of waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds not previously observed on campus, or not previously seen in large numbers, now can be observed living in the wetland area.

Once the wetland was completed, the environmental science/natural resources students utilized their motion-sensitive camera to photograph several species of wildlife feeding or watering around the wetland at night. …

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