Students make growing gains with aquaponics
A new aquaponics plant has been built at Bermuda College to teach students how to live a more sustainable life.
The solar-powered system, which combines growing plants in water and the breeding of fish in tanks, was built by part-time students from the island's high schools with help from staff.
Joseph Weeks, a technical science lecturer at the college, said: “We can grow our own vegetation, or own fish source, and use recyclable materials.
“What we would like to do is build one of these for each of the schools — and have the schools involved in the build, so that would introduce the students to all the disciplines that are required.”
The aquaponics plant, constructed with guidance from Roy Dennison of Aquaponics Bermuda, went into service about six weeks ago.
Mr Dennison said waste from the fish was broken down and used by the plants as nutrients.
He added: “It's a complete symbiotic relationship.”
Mr Dennison said the project showed the public — not only pupils — what was possible.
He explained that similar systems could be set up almost anywhere and that the island had a lot of flat roofs and balconies which could be used.
Mr Dennison said: “There's a lot of wasted space in Bermuda.”
He said aquaponics was more efficient than traditional farming methods.
He added: “You can grow about six times more veg in the same footprint as you can in the soil.”
Recycled wooden pallets and plastic barrels were used to build the plant, which cost between $1,500 and $2,000 to create.
Mr Weeks said the project was an “ideal” project to combine knowledge gained by pupils from a number of areas of study.
Eric Wallace, a CedarBridge Academy pupil, admitted he did not know anything about aquaponics before he became involved.
The 17-year-old Devonshire resident said the construction had provided a wealth of knowledge — from biology and agriculture, to hands-on electrical and plumbing skills.
He explained: “There's a lot of different industries that come together to make aquaponics what it is.”
Eric added: “Once I got into it, I actually really enjoyed it.
“Now that I understand it, I can build it anywhere.”
Mr Weeks and Mr Dennison are also looking at building a greenhouse at the college.