A combination of fish and plant production using aquaculture and hydroponics systems, aquaponics is moving from the realm of experimental to commercial.
Center for Family Guidance, PC (CFG) operates “Making Visions Possible” (MVP), a School Based Youth Service Program, located at the Willingboro High School under the Direction of Gary Nelson, MS, LPC. When Gary first began working at the high school, he did not realize how many students had an interest in planting and farming. Gary thought it would be fun and interesting to introduce the students to aquaponics where the students could study the microbe environments that drive our ecosystem. They started with a small tank for the tilapia, set up a tray, and grew produce. This was the first student project to be held in the school involving aquaponics, or the combination of aquamarine life and hydroponic growing. It’s an environmentally friendly form of farming that decreases pesticide, energy and water usage. The students and staff alike were excited about the outcome and motivated to expand the program. Mr. Nelson secured additional funding through a grant from the Office of faith-based initiatives in partnership with Discover Hope CDC. The principal, Mrs. Ash, at a recent advisory board meeting for MVP reported that she is moving to include aquaponics in the academic programming at Willingboro High School.
Aquaponics is an ideal means of teaching students plant science, nutrition, physiology and care, nutrient and pH testing, pH relationships, nitrification, biology, fish anatomy and nutrition and high-tech agriculture. A unit in aquaponics enforces practical uses of chemistry, mathematics, physics, economics and engineering. The monitoring and care of an aquaponics system by students helps instill a sense of responsibility, inspires creativity and creates excitement in the learning environment. The skills used by students during this unit on aquaponics include observation, measuring, testing, experimenting, recording data, problem solving and critical thinking. MVP’s students have constructed a lab they have named “Project Wakanda” This lab is where students raise tilapia and crops; designing the room to resemble Wakanda from the movie “Black Panther” This lab consists of tanks and grow trays that manage 2,000 gallons of water and more than 600 crops at a time. MVP students plan to provide the crops to the Willingboro Community as they teach about the nutritional benefits of vegetables and health and wellness. MVP’s “Wakanda” will also be a wonderful green plush environment where students can relax and decompress from everyday life stressors.
If you would like more information or to schedule a tour please contact Jeanine Miles, MS, LPC at (856) 261-6829 or firstname.lastname@example.org