Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2003
Youth/Education Category - 1st Place
|Company:||Baldwin County Schools, Loxley, AL|
|Project Name:||Project SEAS: Students Exploring Aquaculture Science|
|Project Type:||Public Health and Habitat|
Project SEAS: Students Exploring Aquaculture Science has been an on-going project for the Baldwin County School System, located on the Gulf of Mexico in Baldwin County, Alabama. Pam Henson, Baldwin County Schools Science Supervisor, has been the driving force in seeing this project to fruition. The project began in August of 2000, when the Advisory Board first met to begin plans for establishing an aquascience facility on the campus of Fairhope High School. The committee developed a timeline for visiting other facilities in the state as well as seeking and submitting grant proposals. The Advisory Committee consisted of school system employees, elected officials, representatives from the seafood industry, and local contractors. This committee made a formal presentation to the Board of Education to seek permission to build an aquascience center on the campus of Fairhope High School. The committee felt a program such as this was needed for a number of reasons: (a) to provide students with a program that placed emphasize on preserving and protecting Mobile Bay (b) to provide students with an aquascience lab that requires real-life, problem solving skills (c) to provide students with opportunities to raise marine organisms in an aquaculture setting thus decreasing the chances of these organisms being depleted (d) to introduce students to a career in the field of aquascience (e) provide students with opportunities to collect and analyze data on organisms found in local habitats. The Board of Education overwhelmingly approved this program and gave the committee permission to seek funding. The facility was completed in March of 2003, and students are actively engaged in raising fish from hatchlings to harvestable size. Students are also raising vegetables through aquaponics, and in the fall of 2003, students will be raising sea grass beds for replenishment.