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Thousands Of Students Turn Rouge River Into Living Classroom

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Students gather water samples of the Rouge River in Canton Township. (Credit: Friends of the Rouge/therouge.org)

Students gather water samples of the Rouge River in Canton Township. (Credit: Friends of the Rouge/therouge.org)

DETROIT (WWJ) - Over 3,000 students from local southeast Michigan schools will be conducting chemical tests, examining aquatic life and surveying the Rouge River.

The students’ efforts are a part of their participation in the Rouge Education Project, a program coordinated by the non-profit Friends of the Rouge.

Students participating in the Rouge Education Project may monitor up to nine different chemical parameters of the river including pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphorus, nitrates and fecal coliform bacteria. The students will then collect and identify benthic macroinvertebrates, such as insect larvae that live in the bottom of the river, crayfish and snails. Students also complete a physical stream survey, which includes documenting the erosion of stream banks and measuring the velocity of the water.

Emily R. Hughes, Rouge Education Project Program Manager, said the project gives K-12th grade students an opportunity to gain hands on experience in real-world science, learn about their local ecosystem and form lasting respect for the community in which they live.

The data that the students collect is made available to the public on the Friends of the Rouge website and is provided to communities in the watershed.

Participating schools by city:

  • Allen Park
    Inter-City Baptist High School
  • Beverly Hills
    Detroit Country Day Middle School
  • Birmingham
    Lincoln Street Alternative High School
  • Bloomfield Hills
    Birmingham Covington School
  • Canton
    Achieve Academy
    Plymouth High School
    Crescent Academy
    Tonda Elementary
  • Clawson
    Clawson Middle School
  • Dearborn
    Long Elementary
    Edsel Ford High School
    University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • Dearborn Heights
    Crestwood High School
  • Detroit
    Logan Elementary School
    Winans Academy
    Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences
    Clippert Academy
    Amelia Earhart School
    Detroit Collegiate Prep
    Ronald Brown Academy
  • Farmington Hills
    Steppingstone School
    Dunckel Middle School
  • Garden City
    Garden City High School
  • Harper Woods
    Chandler Park Academy
  • Livonia
    Emerson Middle School
    Riley Upper Elementary
    Ladywood High School
    Churchill High School
  • Melvindale
    Strong Middle School
  • Northville
    Salem Elementary
  • Novi
    Novi High School
  • Oak Park
    Center for Advanced Studies and the Arts
  • Riverview
    Riverview Community High School
  • Rochester Hills
    Deerfield Elementary School
  • Royal Oak
    Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southeast
  • Southfield
    Stevenson Elementary
    Thompson K-8 School
  • Troy
    Troy High School
    Smith Middle School
  • Westland
    Huron Valley Lutheran High School
  • Wyandotte
    Roosevelt High School

The Rouge Education Project began in 1987 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Its mission is to promote awareness and stewardship of the Rouge River watershed through school-based water quality monitoring, investigation and problem solving. In addition to water quality monitoring, students in the project are encouraged to take action to improve the health of the river based on their findings, and to consider how their everyday actions impact their environment.

For more information, visit www.therouge.org.

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