The Wonderfully Wacky World of PGHS Aquaponics

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Written by Everett Millette, Journalist

Any PGHS student, at some point this year, has heard the buzz about the Aquaponics Club. Chances are, you’ve spotted their peculiar work located behind the art room. But what exactly is the Aquaponics Club? What does this strange word, aquaponics, actually mean?

I’m flattered you asked. Luckily for you, I’ve spent just about every lunch on Thursdays observing (and sometimes lending a hand) to this wonderful and wacky club with the sole intention of answering those questions. And luckily for me, I’ve enjoyed every second of my “investigation.”

First off, what even is aquaponics? Put simply, aquaponics is a form of agriculture in which soil is traded in for fish. Nutrient-rich goldfish water is pumped through a system of canals, which contain plants whose roots soak up the nutrients. Interesting right? Go ahead, scroll down to the photos and take a look for yourself.

As an added benefit, the relationship between the plants and fish is mutualistic. For those of you who aren’t biology whizzes, this simply means that the fish and plants have a relationship in which they both benefit. The plants get nutrients and the goldfish get their water filtered and oxygenated.

The nutrient water is pumped out of the tank, through the system and then returns back into the tank in order to create a circular and waste-free system while also oxygenating and filtering the fish tank.

Every Thursday at lunch, the club meets behind the art room and more often than not those who show up are greeted with some new materials and a new task. Foster Smith, the club president, uses some of his free time away from school and wrestling to buy new materials and to develop a goal for the week. The tasks/goals range from simple things like organizing or cleaning the fish tank, to more complicated tasks/goals such as: hanging the canals on the fence, upgrading the fish tank, putting in new plants, running tests on the system, testing the pH of the water, making sure there is zero water spillage, and of course, planning future endeavours.

There’s really nothing complicated, cult-like, or superficial about the Aquaponics Club. That’s the beauty and allure of it all for me, personally, and for the others too who enjoy the club just as much. One thing that I’ve come to realize about the Aquaponics Club is that it really isn’t a club at all. The Aquaponics Club is simply a group of good friends with a strange but fun project to work on. And that’s really what makes PGHS Aquaponics a great club.

All kinds of plants populate the canals.

PG Aquaponics club members have some big aspirations and are planning on completing multiple, larger scale, projects by the end of the school year. When asked about the future of the club, Foster Smith responded with a laugh, a smile, and four simple words: “Dream big, bite big.”