STARK CAMPUS WIRED WETLANDS PROJECT IS A MAJOR EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE FOR THE COMMUNITY; E-inside; January 19, 2017
The pond and surrounding greenery within the rolling hills of the campus of Kent State University at Stark is not the 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. Soon, it will have similar importance to K-12 students in the Akron-Canton area who are 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 and Wetland Habitat/Wildlife Study Area will be able to accommodate a high-tech sensor network. This Wired Wetlands project will allow students and faculty to collect data about the environment surrounding and within the pond and upload the data to websites in real time. Students will then have free access to the data as they conduct their research.
“This will be useful for students conducting research on-site or using the research area for classroom activities,” says 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, preparing students for further education or careers in the environmental sector or other science fields.