Feb 8, 2013
By Kelee Riesbeck
The American Electric Power (AEP) Company has funded watershed rehabilitation programs led by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs for over a decade. Its support has driven water restoration programs developed and completed by the School’s students, faculty and professional staff. Students have the opportunity to research watershed issues in the southeast Ohio region, learn how to solve real-world problems, collect the scientific data in the context of a larger interdisciplinary team, and learn beyond what they hear in the classroom.
The utility established the American Electric Power Watershed Research and Reclamation Professorship at the School in 2005 with an endowed gift of $250,000. The professorship supports the School’s efforts in watershed research and restoration and student learning. In 2009, AEP made a $250,000 gift that supports the School’s efforts in creating a regional model for predicting a stream’s biological recovery after acid mine drainage has been mitigated from the stream. The gift also funds watershed leadership programs and upgrades to software that supports the watershed restoration effort.
Most recently, AEP gave $100,000 in 2012 to support graduate students as they engage in interdisciplinary, high-quality, applications-based watershed research that benefits the region. The AEP gift funds graduate stipends and research equipment, supplies and travel costs.
The 2012 gift is part of The Promise Lives Campaign which seeks to raise $450 million by June 30, 2015, and already has secured more than $413 million toward its goal in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University.
Click here to see a photo essay that highlights the restoration effort along Hewett Fork, which runs through Athens, Hocking and Vinton counties in Ohio. The essay is by Darcy Holdorf who earned a master’s degree in 2012 in visual communications at OHIO’s School of Visual Communication and who served as the Voinovich School’s Photojournalism Fellow from 2010-2012.