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Aquaponics Project at Terra Nova
$700 raised
52% of $1.4k goal
1 contributor
0 days left
Ended Jan 4, 2019

Terra Nova School of Science and Sustainability is a science options school, where students from six Beaverton high schools learn applied Chemistry and Field Biology. 

We work together to grow and cook organic food, practice self-sufficiency and promote sustainability. Our unique 1.5 acre farm, kitchen, and wood shop provide an ideal environment for students to educate themselves and their peers within a project based framework.

Each year in the fall, our students take part in a group aquaponics project. Aquaponics is the growing of crops in a nutrient-rich water produced by fish. In groups of 3 or 4, students will design their own system, build the system, and troubleshoot any problems that come up. Their goal is to build and design a system that will maximize food growth while minimizing costs and inputs into the system. From this project they will learn about sustainability, alternative crop growth methods, water use and conservation, ecosystem dynamics, and much more. It is important they learn how an aquaponic system represents an ecosystem. This can also be scaled up to teach them how the earth is a giant ecosystem and has many dynamic parts.

As our student population grows and the class evolves, this aquaponics project also evolves. Since its inception in 2014, the project has grown from a few students working with a couple fish tanks to approximately 60 systems lining the hallways of our small school. We have learned quite a bit over the years as well and have been trouble shooting some of the issues we've run in to. A big one is fish loss. Our gold fish keep dying! A few of our students are passionate about keeping these little guys alive longer and have been doing a lot of their own research. They have come up with a legitimate argument for tank heaters. The heaters lower the risk of disease and death in the fish.

We humbly ask for your help in funding this project. STEM, project-based learning is an extremely effective method of teaching students about a multitude of topics. This will prove to be an invaluable learning experience that will give them knowledge and expertise to further their education and obtain life skills for post high school. Fortunately, our project was fully funded last year by Beaverton's Choice. Going forward, we hope to be able to lower the yearly costs as much as possible but for now we are still in need of some new items. 

For the 2018-2019 school year we will be purchasing: 

$300 to replenish the lumber to build the systems. Each year the systems are taken apart after the project is complete. Anything that is salvageable goes back into the supply closet or is reused for building garden beds, etc. 

$100 for 3-4 fish tanks. Each year we have at least one or two break or leak. This is just a replenishment as well as addition due to more students.

$75 for fish and fish food.

$100 for pvc piping, again to replenish our stock.

$100 for about 5 water pumps

$500 for heaters for 25 of the tanks, this is a new purchase. We have never had heaters before. We will try heating about half of the tanks this year and see if it's a worthy cost. 

$100 for filters

$75 for plant starts/seeds

We hope you will join us in continuing to support this project. 

A note from a few of our biology students: "We are students at Terra Nova School of Science and Sustainability. At Terra Nova, they teach us about science in an interactive way. In a day at Terra Nova we cook, plant food, and learn about ways we can help out the world. We are currently about to start a project called aquaponics which will help us learn more about a way we could produce bigger masses of food without using up land for farming and ruining the ecosystem with fertilizer. Also, we are using the aquaponics systems to learn about nitrogen and carbon cycles as well as photosynthesis and respiration using principles of engineering.  To achieve this goal we need help from from you! Currently we are lacking funds for fish tanks, filters, heaters, wood for constructing the systems, pipes, seeds to grow food, fish, air pumps, and plant starts. It is critical for fish to have proper habitat to grow in a healthy way. As you can see from the picture provided, an aquaponics system is quite complicated and would need a lot of materials. By providing the funds, the fish will thrive with a smaller possibility of disease and we can provide food to students and the local farm stand Terra Nova provides sometimes.

We would love it if you could donate to Terra Nova and we hope we reach our goal! Every penny counts :)"

Example of an aquaponics system.

This project is supported by the Beaverton Education Foundation.

Founded in 1988, the Beaverton Education Foundation raises money to provide hands-on innovative academic enrichment and advancement programs & projects that go beyond normal school funding at all Beaverton public schools and is a 501(c)(3) community-based nonprofit organization. BEF mobilizes community resources to fund innovative classroom, summer and after-school programs.

In the event that this project does not reach its goal, BEF may apply the funds received to another project in need.


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