Huron Pines, Little Traverse Conservancy, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Sturgeon Pigeon Area Watershed Network, and the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative have teamed up with Onaway Area Community Schools to offer High School students the opportunity to be stewards and get involved with an important project in their area.
Huron Pines was contacted by the Mullet Lake Area Preservation Society (MAPS) concerning the effect that erosion on the lower Pigeon River was having on water quality in Mullet Lake. The borders of the Banwell Nature Preserve were identified as an area of concern and selected as a site for the project.
On May 26th, 2014, students led the first of many trips out to the Banwell site to begin monitoring the levels of erosion, invasive and native plant levels, conduct substrate pebble counts and stream cross-sections, as well as a benthic macro-invertebrate survey. The relationships between these factors being monitored should give an accurate picture of the impact this project is having, and some indicator of success.
A major factor in following up the field days will be students interpreting their data into reports, school newspaper articles, or presentations to be given during a Mullett Area Lake Preservation Society meeting and to the Sturgeon Pigeon Area Watershed Network.
Onaway Schools teacher Scott Steensma and Huron Pines hope to repeat this field day next fall and spring, and to continue the project into the future.