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Scarborough students create ecosystem in classroom

(WGME)

SCARBOROUGH (WGME) -- Students in Scarborough are creating an ecosystem right in the classroom.

The Aquaponics program includes an aquarium, something slimy, and plants.

Aquaponics is a mix of aquaculture and farming.

"The fish produce the waste, plants absorb the waste and you have an entire ecosystem of bacteria breaking down the waste so the plants can use it,” Aquaponics teacher Albert McCormack said.

Then the cycle continues.

"The plants clean the water for the fish as long as there's light and water and power circulating the water, then you're going to have a healthy system,” McCormack said.

McCormack is in his second year of teaching this program. A program he says fits right in with a STEM education.

“We have the opportunity to get our hands dirty and not only in sustainable agriculture, but also other topics that we're really interest in and gets us more experience for the future,” Jackie Dequattro said.

The project is located right next to the entrance of the Scarborough library for all to see.

"It's a very progressive idea, I think, because basically we're taking a fish tank, essentially, and growing a garden on top of it,” Dillon Hinton said.

And that garden ends up producing food for a cooking class on campus.

"So right now, we're growing tomato plants, we have some cilantro here, we have parsley, that's taken off and we have some radish seeds over here,” McCormack said.

What McCormack and at least one of his students like the most about Aquaponics is even if they don't make it a career, it will still be a big part of their future.

"I am so passionate, not only about agriculture and the environment, but also just learning and being educated about what I can do to be more sustainable in my life,” Dequattro said.

The Aquaponics program, including the 80-gallon aquarium, was made possible by $2,000 grant from the Scarborough Education Foundation.

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