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Testing the waters of Higgins Lake

Those assisting in sampling Higgins Lake water include, Front (l-r): Jon Suvada, Ashley Desmith, Anna Erickson, Jessica Disney, Chuck Schepke (kneeling), Justin Janisse, and Tony from Raven Analytical. Middle (l-r) John Blizzard, Raven Analytical owner, Kathy Erickson, Roscommon Area Public Schools Superintendent, Brady Briggs, Zoe Tomes, Jennifer Tussey, Ian Wybraniec, and Domonic Tatrai. Back (l-r) J.T. Cole and Caleb Jacobs. Not pictured Dylan Aubrey, Karlee Erickson, Ethan Ferency, Michael Ficaj, Jeff Kuchar, Brandon Mitchell, Mac Schultz, and Emily Terry.

John Blizzard of Raven Analytical (left) presents Chuck Schepke with a plaque from the American Chemical Society while Kathy Erickson, Roscommon Area Public Schools superintendent watches.

By Theresa Ekdom

ROSCOMMON – John Blizzard of Raven Analytical recently hosted the Roscommon High School students involved in testing the waters of Higgins Lake along with their Science teacher, Chuck Schepke for a pizza lunch at Fred’s in Roscommon.

The students began a 5-year, community-school based research project in 2017 to monitor the water quality of Higgins Lake. Funding and support came from the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association.

The students were trained and certified to perform EPA standardized tests on the water. They have been collecting water samples this year to establish a baseline for the water quality.

Blizzard made arrangements for the students to attend the Midland section meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in October, hosted at Saginaw Valley State University. The students presented a research poster to graduate students, professional industrial chemists, and university Chemistry faculty. They were the only high school presenters.

During the pizza lunch, Blizzard presented each student with a certificate for their work. He also presented a plaque from the American Chemical Society to Chuck Schepke.

Blizzard was impressed with the work ethics of the students and how quickly they picked up the sampling and testing.

“What really impressed me, they (the students) really felt comfortable working in the chemistry lab,” Blizzard said.

While the training of new students in the next year will be supervised by Blizzard, he expects the current group to train the newcomers. He would also like them to present the project at the next ACS meeting in Midland in 2019.

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