ABOUT OUR LAB
I feel it is important as a teacher to bring a variety of first hand learning experiences to the students. For many years I have always ran a saltwater aquarium in my classroom and have also been involved with the Salmon Enhancement program with support of the Department of Fisheries. We have been raising salmon young over the years and are hopefully going to be receiving a grant to purchase a new cooling unit for next year. Between the salmon rearing and running of a saltwater aquarium, I have spent a lot of my own money for this, however I am very happy to do this as I enjoy the aquariums as much as the students.
This year we have been lucky enough to have acquired a 250-gallon aquarium to expand our saltwater tank program. The goal is to build a living marine reef tank complete with corals and a variety of marine invertebrates right in the classroom. The tank is naturally filtered through the use of a refugium sump where we culture algae and beneficial bacteria as well as grow mangrove to control ammonia and nitrate levels. The students are learning first-hand about the nitrite cycle and the importance that estuaries, reefs, and biodiversity has on the world’s oceans. The students not only learn about a variety of marine life, but also observe and grow them for themselves.
As you could imagine, the equipment, such as lighting, heaters and pumps is quite expensive for a system this size. I have personally contributed an immense amount of money to this endeavor with plenty of support from parents. We will continue to see it through because we are passionate about what we do. There are always need for a few more pieces of equipment and supplies We would be thrilled to get could get any support from the public by purchasing coral or two.
To get a better understanding of what we are trying to do, please watch the videos below as well as a an example of a larger and more ambitious Aqua Lab being run in Bellvue High School.