Science teacher Emily Willey, Cherokee County Farm Bureau President Mae Clay, and Science teacher Rachel Roberts
Science teacher Rachel Roberts introduced an ongoing project, Envirothon Aquaponics, to TLC! in the spring of 2013 and was recently awarded a $500 grant from North Carolina Farm Bureau. Cherokee County Farm Bureau President, Mae Clay, was on hand along with Farm Bureau District Field Representative, Jimmy Cowan, to present the award.
Envirothon Aquaponics project is designed to impact a small team of 6th-8th grade students, presenting them with opportunities to investigate environmental sciences in our local mountain region of North Carolina; to learn more about aquaponics and the role of the farmer/food producer in our state through studies that are committed to meet environmental improvement standards; to design and conduct experiments based on our investigations, to provide opportunities for a multi-disciplined approach (STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Language Arts, and Math) to problem solving and the development of critical thinking skills. Students with staff supervision will design, build, and maintain an aquaponics system that integrates the growing of plants and fish in an environmental system with as few inputs as possible. Specific goals as related to this project include:
To grow edible plants.
To test different plants in our hydroponics systems and examine what grows best.
To raise 10 fish to maturity for consumption.
To investigate and understand local aquaculture systems and business in NC agriculture.
To conduct feasibility studies for extending /expanding the aquaponics so that it produces food for larger populations.
To create “student taught” grade appropriate (K-8) lesson plans to share with other students who did not participate directly in the project.
These specific goals are “repeat goals” that can be used for upcoming school years with different sets of students.
Students will learn types of plants and fish able to be grown in an aquaponics system in the mountain region of NC. Students will learn about the local fish farm industry in our county, as well as local farmers that grown and produce their own edible greens. Cherokee county is a rural area with a heritage of farming and self-sustainability. Students will explore the possibilities of small scale agriculture and discuss the feasibility of producing fish and vegetables for their local school. This will also be an experiment to see how successful a small student run system can be at a local school.