Officials say they're eager to expand the program.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
Outdoor environmental education is making its way to Howland and Cortland.
Officials at Trumbull County Educational Service Center have selected sites in both communities for the outdoor lab, formerly known as Trumbull Area Multi-Purpose Environmental Education Laboratory.
Service center spokeswoman Carlotta Raymond Sheets said the program will no longer be known as TAMPEEL and for now will be referred to as "environmental education programs."
Lab closed: The longtime outdoor lab in Lordstown closed last year when environmental tests found trace amounts of heavy metals in the ground near a parking area.
It had served county fifth-graders since 1973, and officials say they're eager to expand the program to serve more pupils.
For more information or to volunteer, call 675-2800, ext. 120.
An advisory committee was chosen to assist in the decision-making process and to hear presentations from Howland and Cortland officials who offered sites. TCESC's governing board made the final determination.
The committee was made up of representatives of area schools and TCESC, Trumbull 100, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, the county health department, planning commission, soil and water conservation district and a naturalist and TAMPEEL volunteer.
Both sites will offer different educational opportunities, TCESC officials say.
In Howland: The land in Howland is a 200-acre section of undeveloped wetlands owned by the township, school district and the township park district.
It's between the park and the township road department garage on North River Road.
Howland officials plan to build boardwalks on the site and a regional nature preserve that will include trails and observation points.
John Rubesich, Howland schools superintendent, has talked about the possibility of including technology on the Howland site to make distance learning available.
In Cortland: The Cortland site comprises 140 acres controlled by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Mosquito Lake off state Route 46.
Cortland Mayor Melissa Long has said the city plans to build a municipal park that will include the TCESC program.
That area offers pupils access to wetlands, meadows, a mature forest and the lake.
For now, the center will use the Howland land for spring field trips. It includes a pond, fields, wooded trails, restrooms and a pavilion and fire pit.
Brice Harris, TCESC's environmental education supervisor, said the center will help develop needed facilities.
The plan is ambitious because it helps solve the need for expanded programs and a growing roster of staff and volunteers, Harris said.
The sites work well, especially because TCESC doesn't have the money to buy land or develop needed environmental facilities, officials have said.