By:
Gwinnett Citizen News

Brookwood High School offers a ground-breaking new course called Natural Resource Management. It is an applied science course where students learn about environmental science through an entrepreneurial lens. Students design products for your garden, home and body all using sustainable agriculture. All products are made in the classroom by teaching kids entrepreneurship skills.

Many of our community members live in what is classified as a food desert. Not only does the class sell the products made from their produce, and simply the produce itself, but they donate half of what they grow to the local food co-op. The funds raised go directly back to the classroom or a charity of the schools selection. Customers get amazing products and kids learn valuable real world business skills.

The Lilburn Woman's Club (LWC) Conservation Program learned of this exciting new course at Brookwood and visited the classroom to see their Aquaponics class in action. What is Aquaponics you might ask? The simplest definition of Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grow fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish. The third participants are microbes (nitrifying bacteria). These bacteria convert ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, and then into nitrates. Nitrates are the form of nitrogen that plants can uptake and use to grow. Solid fish waste is turned into vermicompost that also acts as food for the plants. In combining both hydroponic and aquaculture systems, aquaponics capitalizes on their benefits, and eliminates the drawbacks of each.

After the Conservation Program's report to LWC on their visit to the class, LWC decided they wanted to support the efforts of the class by collecting donations from club members. Conservation co-chairs Mandy McManus and Andrea Brannen dropped off a $550 check to Brookwood Aquaponics to support their summer trip to Honduras. Brookwood students, Michael Hopf, William Skillen, & Ellie Schutter, and their teacher, Carrie Settles Livers, will head to Central America to assist with an aquaponics garden in a school during their visit. For more information on how you can help, visit their website ­­­­­­­­­­at brookwoodaquaponics.com.

 

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