Youth Educators Explore Use of Aquaponics in the Classroom
Two educators from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy received an NCR-SARE Youth Educator Grant to explore use of aquaponics in the classroom, conduct Next Generation Science Standards-compatible curriculum development, and conduct outreach activities at the Cincinnati Zoo, Krohn Conservatory, and North Avondale Montessori School. They presented their work at the 2014 Farmers Forum, held at the 2014 OEFFA Conference.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy’s Kevin Savage and Gary Delanoy, along with three juniors who are actively involved with independent student research in the area of aquaponics (Christina Del Greco of Loveland, Nathaniel Hipsley of Loveland, and David Humphrey of Glendale), had the opportunity to make an invited presentation at the 35th Annual Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference in Granville, Ohio.
The conference is Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, and plays host not just to Ohio, but to the entire Midwest region.
Each student’s work is, in part, funded by a Youth Educator Grant to Savage and Delanoy from NCR-SARE.
Savage and Delanoy had the opportunity to speak about CHCA’s use of aquaponics in the classroom, Next Generation Science Standards-compatible curriculum development, and outreach activities at the Cincinnati Zoo, Krohn Conservatory and North Avondale Montessori School.
The students shared about their individual research projects, and had the opportunity to field questions from the audience members in attendance. The two principal administrators of our research grant were both present for the presentation, and had very positive comments about CHCA’s aquaponics program, but more importantly about the involvement of the students in independent research involving sustainable agriculture, and the rigor of the projects that they have undertaken.
"The three students did an excellent job presenting their work – this is a reflection of preparation for presenting their work that they received in the Research and Leadership course taught by Nancy Schaefer and Jody Petersen. It was extremely rewarding and gratifying to see the investment in these students ‘bear fruit’ as they shared their on-going efforts with an audience that was well-versed in aquaponics. I know that these students represented themselves, and by extension CHCA, in an extremely positive light, and they should be congratulated," Savage said.
CHCA’s High School Science Department Head and AP physics teacher Lucille F. Taylor added, “The research that the students have embarked upon is viewed by the external experts as ‘Masters Level’ thesis work. This isan outstanding effort and accomplishment, but it is only the beginning.”
Additionally, the work by DelGreco and Humphrey builds directly upon the previous research and results of Tyler Kirbabas (CHCA ’12) from the former Senior Research Seminar course also taught by Schaefer and Peterson.
“It is extremely gratifying to have students who can study research previously completed by other scientists, and find unique ways to both build on that previous research, but to make their work original and their own,” Savage said.
Current working titles of each student’s independent research:
• Christina Del Greco: “Air Bubble Curtains to Control Nutrient Flow Path in Deep Water Culture Grow Beds”
• David Humphrey: “Effect of Thermal Stratification on Nutrient Flow Path in Deep Water Culture Grow Beds”
• Nathaniel Hipsley: “Maximizing Grow Bed Efficiency with a Circular Design.”
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) YENC13-067, Sustainable Agriculture: Instruction, Application, and Community Outreach Utilizing Recirculating Aquaponics Systems.