About the Program
Fifth grade teachers, Mr. McCool and Mr. Takacs, are up to something “fishy” at the Middle School. At the beginning of October, countless boxes and packages poured into the Middle School for the two 5th grade Science/ Social Studies teachers to unpack, assemble, and arrange. The result is now the BMS Fisheries Program Nursery and Aquaponic Minifarm.
With the Help of Mr. Andrews (Intermediate High School) and funding from the Golden Tornado Scholastic Foundation, the area formerly known as the Jr. High swimming pool deck now has two 50 gallon cold water aquariums with brook trout, one 300 gallon tank with channel catfish, and an aquaponic mini farm with a variety of growing plants. The brook trout came from the PA Fish and Boat Commission as eggs as part of the Trout In the Classroom program where students study the life cycle of the brook trout and the importance of a healthy freshwater ecosystem. The trout will be released into a local stream in the spring. The channel catfish also came from the PAFBC, however they are part of a different program. The Middle School is now one of only three schools to participate in the state’s Fisheries Program. Fisheries Program nurseries raise fish for the purpose of stocking into public PA fishing waters. The catfish raised at the middle school will be released into Glade Run Lake in Valencia. The aquaponic minifarm is growing edible plants using electric, full-spectrum grow lights and water from the catfish tank. Catfish waste in the water provides vital nutrients to the growing plants.
Although these programs are in their early stages, Mr. McCool and Mr Takacs have numerous progressive ideas to get students involved in testing, maintaining, and operating a healthy and productive nursery and farm. All 5th grade Science classes have even added their own plants to the mini farm. As well as using this facility, the two teachers will be hand-fabricating a custom mobile hydroponic mini farm that will be able to be moved to any classroom in the school.
Brook trout raised from eggs at BMS.
Channel catfish being raised for release at Glade Run Lake.
This is Glade Run Lake in Valencia, PA. This site is the focus of a restocking effort since it's reopening in 2017. It is predicted that all catfish to enter the lake in the future will be raised by Butler School District nurseries.
BMS students were proud to be a part of our catfish release day!
People gather for the catfish event.
Here, our channel catfish are being sedated and having there adipose fins clipped. This a harmless method of marking the fish as being raised by a BASD fishery nursery.
Catfish being gently released by one of our very own BMS 5th grade students.