|Ottoville Land Lab tagged Monarch Waystation|
|Sunday, April 20, 2014 8:00 PM|
BY STEPHANIE GROVES
This year, the school was awarded a certificate of appreciation as a Monarch Waystation providing milkweeds, nectar plants and shelter for Monarchs throughout their annual cycle of reproduction and migrations. Monarch Watch recognized the students’ efforts with their ongoing conservation effort to create a habitat conducive to Monarch butterflies.
The students have achieved another goal by establishing a community-level appreciation for nature. Their passion and success has been recognized by the Ottoville Lady Otts, who donated the funds needed to purchase a Land Lab sign, which will be erected this spring along with the new bird houses.
To continue with biodiversification studies and improve on the established naturalized eight 9-foot by 9-foot prairie plots in the Land Lab, students recently tested the soil horizon located in the Land Lab area on the school’s property.
Jones said the students are working on soil profiling; testing soil consistency by visual inspection, using sieves to separate soil particulates — sand, clay and silt — and testing pH and nutrient content.
Jones and the students worked together taking soil core samples from random areas close to the prairie plots and the initial observation was the top layer of soil was darker. She asked the students what the darker soil indicated and explained that it was top soil.
Each soil type has at least one, usually three or four horizons. Horizons are defined in most cases by physical features, mainly color and texture.
Jones has been collaborating with the Industrial Arts class again this year. She said the I.A. students are working on constructing more wooden bird houses to attract bluebirds and finches.
“We will be doing air and water quality testing in the near future,” Jones said. “We will collect macro invertebrates from the Little Auglaize.”
To name a few, macro invertebrates include Stonefly and Mayfly nymphs, Caddisfly and Dobsonfly larvae, Water penny larvae and Damselfy and Dragonfly nymphs.
The class is comprised of six students: Emma Eickholt, Luke Schimmoeller, Megan Schnipke, Lyndsay Wannemacher, Lexi Wannemacher and Morgan Beining. The consensus is all of the students find the class enjoyable, especially getting to be out of doors, and learn interesting ‘stuff’.
“It’s a hand-on class and we aren’t just sitting in a classroom,” Schimmoeller explained. “I like the fact we were distinguished as a Monarch Waystation.”
“We learn about nature and the Earth, many things I never knew about,” Eickholt said.
“I like learning about conserving energy,” Lexi Wannemacher detailed. “I get to play in and experience nature.”
“As the weather warms up, the students will be able to check for new growth on the wildflowers planted last year,” Jones said.