for March, 2016
March 28, 2016
Sweet Water Foundation (SWF) is excited to announce the completion of aquaponics projects in partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) at three high schools and two elementary schools.
During the 2015-16 school year, SWF worked with MPS teachers and students to install aquaponics systems at The Alliance School of Milwaukee, Byron Kilbourn School, Casimir Pulaski High School, Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School and Trowbridge School of Discovery and Technology.
In addition to these projects, SWF helped to reestablish an aquaponics program at Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education.
Jesse Blom, SWF Milwaukee Director, gives credit to the teachers and students who have adopted these aquaponics projects. “The teachers and students are the ones who activate their learning on a daily basis, so they deserve most of the credit. MPS is using aquaponics systems to teach a variety of different subjects in an interdisciplinary way. Working with aquaponics systems can improve students’ eco-literacy and awareness of healthy foods, and can provide meaningful hands-on work, creating a positive classroom environment. We look forward to working with MPS on these projects for years to come.”
The new projects are part of the Urban Schools Aquaponics (USA) Initiative, funded by a grant from AT&T and the NEA Foundation. Over the past two years, SWF has provided intensive, hands-on training to 15 MPS teachers on aquaponics design, construction, operation, and maintenance. SWF has worked with students, teachers and administrators to install the aquaponics laboratories, and SWF provides ongoing consultation and assistance to these schools.
Since 2010, Sweet Water Foundation (SWF) has partnered with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) on aquaponics projects at the elementary school and high school levels. SWF has trained teachers, provided supplies and materials, assisted with installation of aquaponics systems in schools, and provided direct instruction to students. In addition to the most recent projects, SWF has set up programs at Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School and South Division High School.
Aquaponics programs have grown considerably in MPS since 2008, the year the National Education Association Foundation, with help from AT&T, began supporting MPS’ Urban Aquaponics initiative with grants. The program was developed to advance Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education among low-income and minority students and introduce students to a sustainable form of farming.
Expanding STEM education is part of MPS efforts to close the achievement gap, one of the district’s Eight Big Ideas to accelerate student achievement.
More information about SWF can be found at www.sweetwaterfoundation.com
More information on SWF’s partnership with MPS on aquaponics initiatives can be found at the following links:
November 5, 2015
Jesse Blom, SWF City Director in Milwaukee, recently visited EARTH University in Costa Rica, where he was invited by Professor Alex Pacheco to assist with the school’s urban and peri-urban agriculture program. EARTH University is an international university for sustainable agriculture, with students and faculty from over 40 countries.
During his 10-day stay at the university, Jesse taught an aquaponics mini-course for a group of fourth-year university students, and assisted a group of second-year students with a start-up aquaponics tourism enterprise.
Jesse’s two day mini-course was a part of the university’s new elective course, “Agricultura Controlada” (“Controlled Environment Agriculture”). The course blended classroom lectures and discussions of aquaponics practice with hands-on work with the newly established aquaponics pilot facility. Course material ranged from system design and water chemistry to commercial applications and the economics of aquaponics.
Jesse also led second-year EARTH students in their efforts to lead tours and workshops at the new aquaponics facility. The center of their efforts will be hands-on workshops using a Barrel-Ponics aquaponics system. During his stay, Jesse and the fourth-year students assisted the second-year students in the construction of this system.
In the summer of 2014, Sweet Water Foundation hosted Professor Alex Pacheco at the Heart Haus in Milwaukee during his sabbatical, including him in their aquaponics training program for Milwaukee Public Schools, and giving him a tour of our Chicago facilities. We look forward to continuing the positive and productive relationship with EARTH University in the future!