Riverbend is thrilled to launch our new aquaponics education program. Aquaponics offers a dynamic resource to advance and expand our educational mission of teaching environmental principles to inspire action and stewardship of the Earth's natural resources.
Aquaponics, a method of sustainable agriculture, is the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. It is an ecosystem in which plants and fish are symbiotically grown together, using nutrient-rich fish wastewater to provide nutrients for the plants to grow. These nutrients would build up to toxic levels if left in the fish tanks; instead they serve as liquid fertilizer to hydroponically grown plants. In turn, the plants function as bio-filters releasing freshly cleansed water back into the fish tanks.The nitrifying bacteria living throughout the system play a critical role in nutrient cycling. Without these microorganisms, the whole system would stop functioning. Aquaponic food production uses just a fraction of the water resources that are required by traditional farms and it's a system that cycles free of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
As a tool to teach about aquaponics, sustainable agriculture, food issues and more, Riverbend has built a 300 square foot Aquaponics Greenhouse! All field trip experiences include a tour of the greenhouse in addition to great hands-on activities that explore this exciting topic.
Riverbend offers an integrated aquaponics curriculum that enables teachers to investigate deeply in a single topic across multiple subject areas. It provides experiential learning opportunities that engage students in STEM topics, farming production and sustainability. It invites students to think critically about how community and societal goals can be met using agricultural practices such as aquaponics.
I. Resource Guide
II. Teacher Training
Professional development for teachers includes an introduction to aquaponics and tour of Riverbendís aquaponics greenhouse, a walk through the curriculum and 18 hands-on activities, and an introduction to the classroom system. The two-day training will take place at Riverbend.
III. Classroom System
Riverbend will provide the participating teacher with a 20 gallon system for their classroom. Riverbend will help to assemble the system with teachers and students, provide an introductory lesson and ongoing technical support to ensure a healthy operating system all year.
IV. Field Trip
Students (up to two classrooms) will visit Riverbend for a day long experience presented by skilled aquaponics educators that will offer a menu of activities to choose from including fish dissection, water testing, Brix testing, watershed model, greenhouse tour, food miles game and plant dissection.
Address Standards 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 4.1 and 4.4.
Bring your students to Riverbend to get up close and personal with Aquaponics! Explore this amazing form of sustainable agriculture that mimics a natural ecosystem. Learn how fish, plants and bacteria work together to help solve many of our food and environmental issues. This 1.5 hour lesson includes:
Cost: $6 per student in fall. $7 per student in Spring
If you have any questions or would like to book a program, please contact Erin McCool at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-527-5234 ext. 108.
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