Sydney Kruise, Staff Reporter

Sure, anyone can plant a tree and watch it grow, but are you up for the challenge of creating an Aquaponic ecosystem?  WWT sure is!

Mrs. Morgan and the culinary students have teamed up to create an environmental way of gardening that benefits both the OT program and our foods classes. The Aquaponic ecosystem is beneficial because the plants can be grown year round. “Instead of using soil like in a traditional garden, we use fish to fertilize our plants.”  Mrs. Morgan said.

The program orders the tilapia fish when they are babies, and while they are living in the tank, they eat worms that are born in a composting bin. The foods students bring all of the food scraps, and put them in the bin, which grows the worms. After a long 6-8 months, the fish are fully-grown and are harvested for training purposes for students in culinary arts studying filet techniques in the kitchen.

“The plants get the Nitrogen they need to grown by absorbing it in a liquid form after the fish eat and digest their food. In turn, the plants give off waste material as well and those nutrients are sent back to the tank for the fish to absorb through their gills. It is a true ecosystem. The fertilizer is used in plants throughout the district and sold to staff. Last year we sold over 90 pounds of fertilizer. ” Mrs. Morgan added.

Because of the ecosystem, the OT program has successfully grown parsley, basil, and lettuce. The plants are harvested by the foods students and used in the Titan Terrace.

“They gave us the fish for free, which was awesome. My classes had a great time learning to fillet, clean and scale the fish,” Mrs. Adams said.

“I thought that lab was interesting, Its cool that the fish can make plants grow like that,” Kaila Hill commented.

If there’s one thing about tower, its that they are always coming up with new way to help out the environment, and we should all be proud to be a titan!