Hello BEST subscribers,

This week the bioenergy and sustainability interns have decided to post about sustainability education. For my post, I'd like to highlight some of the programs that have been started at schools in my home town of Boca Raton.

At Donna Klein Jewish Academy, the students have helped setup a garden to grow fresh fruit and vegetables. The plants are grown in 15 gallon bags that allow the garden to be contained in a small space. They have also set up two composters and a cistern to collect rain water for irrigation.

West Boca school hopes children become the earth’s caretakers
Just north of Boca Raton in Delray Beach FL, American Heritage School has set up an aquaponics system that grows plants using the fish waste from a fish pond. The project was described in their newsletter. I have pasted the text and attached a picture at the bottom of this email.
Although these two gardens will not produce enough food to feed the entire world, hopefully they will spark interest in the students who go on to solve some of the world's food security issues. If we are to produce the next generation of innovators and problem solvers, I it is crucial that our students be exposed to ideas like urban farming and aquaponics as early as possible. 

Michael Bank
Undergraduate Intern
2014 Bioenergy and Sustainability School 
Soil and Water Sciences department
[log in to unmask]

Aquaponics System Comes to Heritage 

Students are raving about science at AHS these days. “We really wanted to show students how to grow food from plant to plate,” said Mrs. Alicia Torres, Science Teacher in the Lower School, “ and when we saw the Aquaponics System at a Green Conference in West Palm Beach, we thought it was the perfect way to incorporate real life into our science curriculum,” Mrs. Torres added. Four months later, the state-of-the-art growing system that uses fish, specialized hydroton (or clay pebbles) and a grow bed system sprouted just outside the door of the Lower School Science Lab! Already there are veggies and herbs growing, and soon the school cafeteria will have fresh organic ingredients to put into the menu at lunch. For real!
“Aquaponics is a great way to grow plants instead of planting them in the dirt,” explained Mrs. Torres. “It is better because the fish, bacteria, and plants are all helping each other. Not only is the food fresh, and we are teaching our students how to help the environment, it’s a fun way to teach the children about the Nitrogen Cycle,” she added.
“This type of food harvesting dates back to the Aztecs and 6th century ancient China!” said Mr. Stone, Headmaster, fascinated by the history of the system and how it has withstood the test of time.

Even EPCOT has a working Aquaponics system in their Land Pavilion within Future World. Indeed, AHS is taking big steps into the future and was also recently recognized as a ‘Green School of Promise’ for integrating several key sustainability criteria into the culture of the school. Congratulations to all for helping to preserve and protect our environment. Make sure you stop by the Butterfly Garden, and check out all of the amazing feats of nature the students are accomplishing.