Welcoming our New Staff Member!

Welcome to our new Communication and Outreach Specialist! Mary earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a specialization in Sustainable Management from Bowling Green State University in 2022. Growing up in the Northwest Ohio region, her academic and professional careers have been influenced by being surrounded by the Oak Openings Preserve and the Lake Erie Islands.

She has a strong passion for the conservation and preservation of the Lake Erie ecosystems and looks forward to putting her time and effort into ensuring clean, clear and safe waters. After spending nearly every summer growing up on Lake Erie’s Put-In-Bay, she has developed a deep appreciation for the area and the importance of keeping our waterways clean and sustainable. 

Mary enjoys spending time in new and familiar outdoor spaces and continuing to expand her knowledge on environmental topics. 

You’ll see Mary’s work in our e-news (like this article!), our social media, and our interactions with the public.

Program Overview and CWAT Intro

Throughout the year, Partners for Clean Streams is proud to offer different programs that are focused on continuing our mission to strive for clean, clear and safe waters. We’re here to help cure that cabin fever by giving you some exciting programs to look forward to later in the coming months!

CYS Day – Over five hundred volunteers armed with gloves and bags remove tons of trash from dozens of local stream banks. All trash is reported as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. After a morning of removing trash from stream banks, road sides, parking lots and parks, volunteers celebrate clean water with an Appreciation Picnic.

CYS 365 – Volunteers can do their own river cleanup, on their own time, in their favorite location. This helps reduce trash buildup throughout the year. All supplies and maps are provided.

Storm Drain Marking – As part of the Give Water a Hand Campaign, we connect municipalities, citizens and volunteers by reminding citizens to keep pollution out of storm drains. Volunteers mark storm drains and pass out educational flyers in neighborhoods.

Get the Lead Out – Volunteers remove potentially harmful derelict fishing line, lead, lures and trash that have accumulated in and along the Maumee River after the spring fish runs. There are many public and private group outings and flexible scheduling in June – October, as water levels allow.

Reel in and Recycle – By working together, anglers, property owners, & volunteers reduce fishing line in our rivers. Anglers deposit their line in the Recycling Bins at fishing hot spots, Bass Pro, or Maumee Tackle while volunteers monitor and recycle the line.

Coming soon this year is our new program Community Water Action in Toledo (CWAT)! Be on the lookout for future information and details on how to get involved.

Great Black Swamp and World Wetland Day

It’s no secret that the Northwest Ohio region is relatively flat. But, did you know that this same land was once covered by a vast swamp? Spanning about 100 miles across and 25 miles wide, most of our area used to exist as a network of marshes, forests and wetlands. 

Across Ohio, approximately 10% of our once-abundant wetland habitat remains. In pre-industrial times, Northwest Ohio was home to the Great Black Swamp, a large stretch of wetlands and woodlands that housed a wide variety of plants and animals. As more European settlers arrived in the region, they began to drain the swamp to make the land more suitable for agriculture. While this resulted in some of the most productive farmland in the country, it came at the expense of our region’s wetlands.

February 2 is World Wetlands Day. It is important to recognize this day as Northwest Ohio was once home to 1,500 square miles of wetlands. Wetlands improve water quality, control erosion, store floodwater, plus they’re biodiversity hotspots. Although smaller in scale now, these crucial wetland habitats still remain in our area, both original and restored. You can find wetlands coastal areas along Lake Erie, including birding hotspots like Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and Maumee Bay State Park, as well as farther inland in the wet prairies of Oak Openings.

This World Wetlands Day, what are we celebrating? A lot! Wetlands act as storage facilities for water during and after large rain events, helping to prevent flood damage and erosion. They are capable of absorbing and holding substantial amounts of water, and then slowly release it over time. Wetlands also act as natural filters for the water that enters their systems. As water is retained in the wetland, suspended sediments are able to drop out and nutrients, such as those coming from fertilizer, are consumed by plants and microorganisms. Eventually, the water is released into the ground below or into a nearby waterway, with better water quality than when it entered the wetland.  Wetlands are also extremely productive biologically, acting as homes for many different plants, as well as insects, frogs, turtles, fish, mammals, and as important stopovers for migratory birds.

Workplace Giving with Northwest Ohio Community Shares

For 11 years, Partners for Clean Streams has been a member organization with Northwest Ohio Community Shares, a workplace giving federation that connects employees to local nonprofits. You can encourage your workplace to join and support the local community.

Founded in 1997, Northwest Ohio Community Shares (NOCS) is our region’s only workplace giving federation with a focus on social justice, health and human services, animal welfare, the arts and the environment. NOCS generates essential operating funds for nonprofit organizations that are working for positive change.

Your company or agency may already participate in this workplace giving program. Check NOCS’s workplace partners list here. If so, choosing to donate to Partners for Clean Streams is a wonderful way to make sustaining gifts that fund our programs and projects. Employees can choose to donate in several ways: through payroll deduction if your HR department participates or with cash, check, credit/debit card. Whether your workplace does payroll in-house or sends it to an outside processor, implementing automatic deductions for charities is a simple process that requires no more time than implementing any other deduction. NOCS can also help facilitate employee/employer gift-matching campaigns.

If you’re new to workplace giving, we encourage you to ask your HR and/or payroll department to connect with Northwest Ohio Community Shares, or get started by checking out NOCS’s resources page for interested partners.