Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change

by Perkin Educational Opportunities Foundation, Inc.
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Aquaponics Solution to Climate Change
Learning life skills through growing peppers
Learning life skills through growing peppers

As we move forward with technical advancements and automatic systems in our aquaponic greenhouses, we remind ourselves of our overall goal. While we are expecting bumper crops of tomatos, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers and fish, we are focused on a more important outcome.

The name of our school, Amún Shéa, means "Land of seedlings" in the original Lenca language, the indigiousness people of our region. We choose this name given the parallel between nurturing the development of young people and the cultivation of living plants.

Working with aquaponics nurtures our students in life skills. The balance and interdependence between plants and fish and ourselves becomes evident. Our students learn to appreciate to working of life cycles and how climate change forces modification in those cycles and processes.

Knowledge and confidence gained through hands working is essential during the early years of formation. Actually, children have the right to learn how to work, how to grow and how to apply their expanding knowledge into the ever changing world around them. This is what we seek to produce with the aquaponics greenhouse.

We thank you for your continued support and ask that help spread the word. Thank you!

Facination with fish
Facination with fish
Preparing soil for greenhouse
Preparing soil for greenhouse

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Fishing is one of Andrew's favorite hobbies
Fishing is one of Andrew's favorite hobbies

Amún Shéa celebrated its final day of classes this past Friday but learning is still going on. As part of a continuing effort to practice applied learning within our aquaponic greenhouse system, a small group of middle school students took part in a hands on workshop about aquaculture management and production.

Aquaculture at Amún Shéa is focused around tilapia farming, a process that is integral to the aquaponic greenhouse system, and productive area as a whole, that you have supported so faithfully. Thanks to this continued support, the tilapia pond is currently developing towards a level of productivity that will make it an important financial support for our efforts and a powerful teaching tool that all of the students of Amún Shéa and the Perquín School System can take advantage of.

Today’s workshop focused on the process of sexing, or determining the gender, of fish. But, of course, to do that the students had to have fish to work with. With the support of our production manager, Balmore, and two resident biologists who specialize in fish, Saúl and Samuel, the five students rigged up a net through the fish pond and patiently teased the fish out of hiding and into captivity. This process of actually capturing the fish is currently in development to find the most effective method, but today’s catch was good enough for our purposes and yielded six large, healthy fish.

Students then weighed and measured the fish and, again with the support of our resident experts, determined the gender of the fish. This process not only puts into practice the students’ knowledge of reproduction and life cycles in a biological context, but also teaches an important aspect of fishery management and organization; fish below a certain size should be released to continue growth until they reach an optimal size and resources should not be put into fattening up female fish because of the amount of resources that they must put into egg laying and care. Knowing the size and gender of the fish can then allow the students to decide whether the fish should be put in a tank for reproduction (females), a tank focused on growth (the males), or if they have reached a size appropriate for sale.

Once this process becomes streamlined our production manager estimates that our aquaculture alone can bring in around $5,000 a year to help support the school. Unfortunately, materials are still lacking to bring this system to optimal productivity. Oxygenation, a key aspect for maximum growth, is a serious problem for our external tanks. This requires and oxygen compressor akin to what you may have seen in domestic fish tanks, only on a much larger scale. Furthermore, an additional external tank for growing and fattening male fish is necessary for the continued growth of this enterprise. The oxygenation system costs around $1,000 and the large external tank runs north of $2,000. 

There is a huge market for this commodity in Northern Morazán, so continual development of aquaculture at Amún Shéa can provide a huge financial benefit for the school. Furthermore, the educational and vocational opportunities provided by this system are hugely promising for our students. We hope that you see the importance of this project and elect to continue supporting us in our mission to bring high quality, life-changing education to the children of Northern Morazán. Thank you for your support.


All photo credit goes to Xochilt Pocasangre.

Students and mentors setting up the net
Students and mentors setting up the net
Samuel explaining how to handle the tilapia
Samuel explaining how to handle the tilapia
A successful fishing expedition
A successful fishing expedition
Weighing the fish
Weighing the fish
Measuring the fish
Measuring the fish
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Amun Shea students working on the watering system
Amun Shea students working on the watering system

Our newest greenhouse has recently taken a big step in its technical development thanks to collaboration with The Salvadoran Association of Fellows of Friends of Korea (ASEBAC) and the Institution of Electrical Engineers and their social outreach program (IEEE & IEEE SIGHT). A group of students worked with these organizations from second to the fifth of August to install an automated watering system and solar panels to power said system. This process has allowed our greenhouse to reach a new level of efficiency and productivity, helping extend its impact on the school and our community and decreasing power needs for the greenhouse.

Furthermore, the work provided our students with a wonderful, hands-on experience working with technology in a way that pertains to to their surroundings and opens their eyes to new possibilities for their future. Solar technology is becoming an increasingly in-demand field and greenhouse and aquaponic systems hold a lot of promise for continued growth in Northern Morazán. Thanks to your continued support and the help of our partners, we were able to provide this opportunity to a group of Amún Shéa students

It is not just this group of students that will benefit, though; all students at Amún Shéa now have the opportunity to see this technology in action and work with it themselves. In fact, a group of students has begun work on an automated watering system for another area of the school and now has the option to use this new system as a guide and inspiration for their own project.

This project, for all its benefits, was not a cheap one. Even with the generous financial and technical support of IEEE and ASEBAC, PEOF put a significant amount of resources into making this a reality. We hope that, as before, you continue to see the benefits that this project holds and continue to support our mission. Thank you so much for your continued interest in our work and we will keep you up to date on any new developments.

Engineers installing the electrical system
Engineers installing the electrical system

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Normally these reports are designed to keep you updated on the progress of our aquaponic greenhouses: how they fit into our educational methodology, what new things we are adding and how much we need your help to keep this all going.  Of course, these things remain true. Students continue to play a vital role in our productive area, our new greenhouse is quickly approaching full productivity, and we very much still need your help to keep this all going. With all this focus on the what and the how, though, I am afraid that we have lost a little bit of the perspective on the most important part of this whole thing: the why. Why we do all of this and, more importantly, why you have chosen to continue supporting us.

This has been a momentous year for Amún Shéa and PEOF. New partnerships with Pestalozzi and FIAES, the CIAC and Brinker Science Lab, and the construction of the Casa Comunal are all huge steps forward and undoubtedly reasons for celebration. With all this expansion, we are becoming able to do more good for more people, which is exactly what PEOF stands for and exactly why you stand behind us.

A cornerstone of all this work, one of the most important projects that truly set PEOF’s work into motion at Amún Shéa, was the aquaponic greenhouse project. It remains a pivotal part of Amún Shéa’s work and influence in the community and your support of the greenhouses is perhaps more important than ever before.

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Working with worms
Working with worms

One of Amún Shéa’s core principles has always been that application is more important than just theory. Ever since its inception several years ago, our aquaponics greenhouse has provided a wonderful venue for our students to make that happen. This year, however, the connection between our “Área Productiva,” or productive area, and the classroom has grown even stronger, something that we’ve only been able to do thanks to your continuing support.

Amún Shéa this year has entered a period of rapid growth and change in just about every facet, spurred on by the school-wide adoption of our Problem Based Learning methodology. At the center of this move is the desire to systematize our approach to learning so that it can be applied throughout the Integrated School System of Perquín. As a central part of our methodology, the hands-on aspect of learning at Amún Shéa has undergone the same treatment.

What this means in concrete terms for our students is that at least once a week (though often more frequently, especially for the older students) the students from each community spend a block of time working in the productive area. Tasks range from helping water plants and plant seedlings for the younger kids to developing the infrastructure for the second greenhouse for the older kids. Other projects include developing organic fertilizer, creating a system of water filters for the aquaponics system, and organizing the entire productive area to work together smoothly.

The steps forward that we have taken in the productive area have also allowed for further individual work to be done within the project-based framework of our methodology. This semester, for instance, has seen our high-school community focusing on developing our own super-efficient fish food for our tilapia pond and our second community (comprised of third through fifth grade) developing a system of traps for the same tilapia pond.

We’ve only just gotten started with the school year and we’ve got lots of exciting plans in store for our productive area and all the opportunities that it brings to our students. Just don’t forget to keep supporting us!

Making a charcoal filter for our aquaponics system
Making a charcoal filter for our aquaponics system
Enjoying the greenhouse
Enjoying the greenhouse
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Organization Information

Perkin Educational Opportunities Foundation, Inc.

Location: Greenwood, DE - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @peofelsalvador
Project Leader:
Ronald Brenneman
Lancaster, Pa. United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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