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Students Learn Appreciation for Lake Erie Through Kayak Experiences

Grant will support young people’s education about habitat and environmental challenges.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is introducing young people to new experiences relating to Lake Erie, thanks to a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The grant enabled ODNR to create the new Interpretive Paddle Program.

The Interpretive Paddle Program will take students and teachers on a journey through the waters that play an important role in the Great Lakes ecosystem. The paddling trips will provide educational experiences including ecology, watersheds, and human impacts on the water.

“It’s important to teach the next generation how to care for our natural resources,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “This program will get students moving while giving them valuable knowledge about the importance of the Great Lakes.”

Through several experiential learning opportunities, ODNR will teach students about civic engagement and enhance their environmental literacy about Great Lakes habitats and water quality. The goal is to encourage young people to become environmental stewards for one of Ohio’s greatest resources- Lake Erie.

“We’re hoping that these programs will encourage young people to come up with their own new and unique ways to positively impact water quality,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “By getting them out on the water, we are encouraging them to not only think about the importance of our waterways, but to take action to contribute to their health and beauty.”

ODNR was awarded $133,650. The first events this grant will cover are kayaking experiential learning opportunities. This month, students from Clay High School, Ranger High Tech Academy, and Ottawa Hills High School will explore several locations including Howard Marsh and Maumee Bay.

The grant will also support the H2Ohio Students Take Action program and Old Woman Creek Great Lakes Literacy and Experiences Program.

The H2Ohio Students Take Action Program will focus on wetland restoration projects implemented under the H2Ohio initiative. The program will give participants real-world learning opportunities, access to wetland sites and career shadowing opportunities.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.