During kayak rotations this term, students had the chance to do what we call an ‘Intensive’ for Human Ecology class. Students focused on one project to develop the viable solutions, skills, and knowledge that they need to take home with them. The three intensives included: Plastics and Marine Pollution, Aquaponics, and Sustainable Agriculture.
In Plastics, the students conducted beach plastic surveys to determine how much micro and macro plastic has washed up onshore different beaches of Eleuthera. The Aquaponics team learned more about the system located at CEI and built their own ‘backyard aquaponics’ model. The Sustainable Agriculture group worked on The Island School farm and designed their own grow bed and ‘herb spiral’. Check out a couple of the videos that the students created about their experience and the project they worked on!
As a native Clevelander, I take great pride in anything Ohio so I was over the moon when I first heard about Rid-All Green Partnership Farm. Rid-All is an exceptional example of not only how Cleveland is making a difference with urban agriculture but also how experiences at The Island School can easily translate to “the real world.” The most direct connection is their closed aquaponics system with Tilapia–sound familiar??
On Saturday December 22, 2012 Island Schools alumni, parents and teacher conference attendees gathered in the cold and snow to tour the farm. Co-founders Randy McShepard and Damien Forshe gave us the history of the urban farm, its progress to today and showed us where all the magic happens. The key to their vision is establishing the farm as a center for education and modeling systems. They have also developed a number revenue streams to sustain the project and ensure it’s ability to thrive and continue influencing locally and nationally the urban farming movement. For more information on Rid-All please check out their website here.
Please enjoy the photos from our tour and we encourage you to visit this great place if you ever find yourself in Cleveland! I know this will be the first of many visits by The Island School family and thank you to all who joined us for our first visit!
The Aquaponics research team at The Cape Eleuthera Institute has successfully hatched nearly two thousand tilapia eggs. Eggs were removed from the mouths of the female brood stock and transferred to a larval rearing device known as a McDonald Jar where they were maintained at a water temperature of 27°C. Tilapia are mouth brooders; upon fertilization of eggs the female scoops all of the eggs into her mouth and incubates them for 3-5 days. After spending four days in the McDonald Jar, the eggs had a near 100% successful hatch rate and transformed into fry. They have officially been introduced into the aquaponics system and are doing FANTASTIC!
Cape Eleuthera Institute’s Kristal Ambrose embarked on her epic journey to of plastic research, leaving on April 24th.. From Nassau, Bahamas to Texas, USA; from Tokyo, Japan to Guam; and finally, on to Majuro, Marshall Islands, the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of exploration, opportunity, and learning for Ambrose, CEI’s Aquaponics Intern and researcher dedicated to finding solutions to plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
“Most of what we eat, drink or use in any way comes packaged in petroleum plastic—a material designed to last forever yet used for products that we use for as little as thirty seconds then throw away,” describes Ambrose on her blog. “Plastic creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence: manufacture, use, and disposal. This is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the small amount that has been incinerated and has become toxic particulate matter. In the environment, plastic breaks down into small particles that release toxic chemicals into the environment. These particles are ingested by wildlife on land and in the ocean, contaminating the food chain from the smallest plankton to the largest whale…This trip will serve as my formal training experience to tackle the plastic pollution and marine debris issue within my country.”
In Nassau during the days before departure, Ambrose was invited to tea at the home of His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes, Governor General of The Bahamas. Continue reading →
This semester’s Aquaponics team is now five weeks into our feed experiment testing the viability of fish silage as food for our Tilapia. Our team consists of the students, Grace,Griffin, Helen, Marius, Alex, AJ, and our advisors, Josh and Ashley. Aquaponics is a system that recirculates fish waste into a usable substance in which we can use to grow vegetables to eat here at The Island School. In our experiment, we are attempting to change the diet of the Tilapia that provide us with the waste that grows our food. Continue reading →
The Spring 2011 Aquaponics Research Crew spends our days watching lettuce grow. When we’re not bent over lettuce beds, measuring plant height and counting lettuce leaves (last week we estimate that we counted at least 2,500 leaves!) we like to relax and rap about the glamor filled life of an aquaponics researcher.
Lactuca Sativa [April 1, 2011 – April 4, 2011], known to his friends and family as Green Grand Rapids Tropicana Lettuce passed away last Monday as a result of faulty irrigation systems. He lived his short life in the farm beds on TheIslandSchool campus, under shady covering. Throughout his life, he enjoyed soaking up sun, photosynthesizing, continual growth, and extracting nutrients from the rich compost. Had his life not tragically ended, he would have gone on to sustainably feed theIslandSchool community. He is survived by his family in the Aquaponics system at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Funeral arrangements were made by the aquaponics team and there will be an open wake for all that care to join this Saturday at2:37 pm. He will live on in our thoughts every time we eat salad and think about the salads that could have been.
The aquaponics team is currently conducting an experiment to understand which growing method: in ground or aquaponics, is ultimately more productive. Continue reading →
How does the Aquaponics Research Crew know what’s going on in their tanks full of Tilapia? They conduct a fish sampling. Watch as the Spring 11 research group demonstrates the techniques and methods used to collect data about our Tilapia fish populations.