National award for college instructor behind aquaponics scheme
The driving force behind a solar-powered aquaponics project addressing food security has been granted a national award led by an international environmental group.
Joseph Weeks, technical education instructor at the Bermuda College earned the National Energy Globe Award from the international energy forum Energy Globe Foundation.
The project launched in 2018 was among more than 2,500 projects from 18 countries aimed at protecting the environment.
Maneka Ghandi, chairwoman of the Energy Globe jury, described the awards as “the most significant environmental awards worldwide”.
The Bermuda College project engaged students from various academic disciplines including earth sciences, applied technology, engineering and math, while addressing issues including sustainability, inclusiveness and innovation in the community.
Mr Weeks said: “As a team, we utilised the STEM approach to address food security with the aquaponics system.
“We targeted high energy costs and the need for a more environmentally friendly energy option with the photovoltaic system (solar panels).
“With a focus on inclusiveness, we designed the system at waist height, so that the elderly, and persons with disabilities would be able to harvest plants from a seated position.”
Students helped to construct a greenhouse for the aquaponics system and planted their garden with ten kinds of vegetables and fruit.
They monitored the chemical balance of the system with the assistance of team instructors Delroy Musson, Dr Tracey Harney, and Roy Dennison, aquaponics consultant. Mr Weeks also installed four solar panels providing the requisite energy source to run the farm.
Evaluations were assessed on a national level – the National Energy Globe Awards – and on the international level – the Energy Globe World Awards.