Wired Wetlands Project at Kent State University at Stark Brings High Impact to Community at Relatively Low Cost
A pond and surrounding greenery lies within the rolling hills of the campus of Kent State University at Stark, but it’s certainly not your average water retention pond. It’s a living, breathing, vital research tool that is having a major impact on the lives of Kent State Stark students, faculty, and staff, and soon, students in K-12 schools in the Akron/Canton area interested in studying and protecting the environment.
Thanks to a $25,000 grant from Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, Kent State Stark’s 17-acre Pond & Wetland Habitat/Wildlife Study Area will be able to accommodate a high-tech sensor network, known as the “Wired Wetlands” project. The network will allow students and faculty to collect data about the environment surrounding the pond and within the pond itself and upload data to websites in real-time. Students will then have access to the data – and for free – as they conduct their research.
“This will be useful for students conducting research on-site or using the research area for classroom activities,” said Gregory Smith, assistant professor of biological sciences at the Kent State Stark campus. “Data from the network also will be available to anyone with Internet access. We’ll reach out to area K-12 schools to make them aware of the data and show them how to access it, allowing them to use real data for curricular exercises in environmental science, biology, math, or other related fields.”
The interconnectedness of the equipment and the ability to access data in the field and laboratory will enable direct, small-group, and dynamic learning in any setting. The combination of classroom, laboratory, and field learning experiences, and the opportunity to apply that learning and gain valuable experience in a class exercise or research project will provide a comprehensive environmental education that will prepare students for further education or careers in the environmental sector or other science fields.