Student ambassadors from our 3 middle schools attended Riverbend Environmental Education Center’s press conference this morning where a check for $40,000 from PECO was received to help support aquaponics in Norristown Area School District . The aquaponics comprehensive unit of study developed by Riverbend is being delivered to approximately 500 7th graders across the District. Aquaponics is a method of sustainable agriculture. It is an ecosystem in which plants and fish grow symbiotically, using nutrient-rich fish wastewater to provide nutrients for the plans to grow.Click here to see coverage by 6abc news: http://6abc.com/society/studying-the-science-of-aquaponics/1056171/Superintendent Dr. Janet Samuels said:
It is estimated that by 2018 more than 63% of all jobs in the United States will require post-secondary education, while 92 % of all Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM related jobs will require post-secondary training. As educators, community leaders and citizens who care about the future of our children, it is our moral imperative to prepare our children to meet the demands of the 21st century.
A sound and intentional investment builds strong foundational skills and the knowledge needed for our students to become the next generation of chemists, biologists and engineers. Today, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Riverbend Environmental Education Center for being a forerunner in creating environmental and inquiry-based learning opportunities for students.
Since 2006, nearly 12,000 students in our district have participated in hands on science education programs developed by the extraordinary Riverbend staff, and made possible by generous corporate and private funders. We have watched the transformation of our 3rd and 4th grade students, as well as their teachers, as they have delved into environmental science through the comprehensive study of water, watersheds, and ecosystems. Many of the 3rd and 4th grade students, who are now part of a cohort of 500 – 7th grade students, in our three middle schools, have a unique opportunity to participate in the Aquaponics program. Not only will students learn how the nitrogen cycle works, they will experience firsthand, the ways natural systems rely on this process, as they apply elements of chemistry and biology. Through the Aquaponics program, our students will be challenged to create a plan for sustainable agriculture in the own neighborhoods as well as ponder critical issues such as water conservation in smaller communities and on a global scale.