Aquaculture in Action Update
The Aquaculture in Action educators met midyear and enjoyed sharing information on how one another are using aquaculture and the successes and problems that have been encountered with the systems this year and past years. It was a good exchange and it is certainly good to hear that we have a few teachers doing presentations at conferences this year related to aquaculture in the classroom. Doug Romano (Cambridge South Dorcester HS) presented at the Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Educators conference in February and Ken Baxter (Beall HS) presented at the MSDE Math and Science Eisenhower Conference in March.
We discussed the recent efforts using clove oil as an anesthetic and the positives and negatives for those who have tried it with their fish (not their students!). Some were still struggling with the dose, but it was agreed that very little is needed, a few drops per liter, to get the fish "knocked out".
Ken Baxter noted that his fish seem a little groggy even a few days after the clove oil experimentation.
Some new additions to the AinA web-site were presented as well. The data input procedure and new forms, the system design and construction from the 2000 workshop, and the new method for finding a project that has been entered by a school on the web. The data input link is still password protected and can only be accessed by participating members. However, by going to the projects link on the main page users can view project descriptions and data being entered by students on-line. Our next effort will be to develop an evaluation tool for the teachers and students involved in our network to help us assess the impacts of aquaculture in education.
New collaborations that we are forming with the MD DNR fisheries division will streamline the process of permitting and getting fish out to the teachers involved in aquaculture projects. This should help significantly and teachers should be able to obtain a wider variety of native species as well as tilapia that they currently supplied to schools.
In the afternoon, we were treated to an excellent talk by Dr. Yonathan Zohar on aquaculture and biotechnology related to striped bass hormonal regulation research and it's impact on mammalian research. Dr. Zohar is very supportive of our program and is impressed with the efforts to incorporate aquaculture into the classroom. A tour of the new and nearly complete Aquaculture Research Center in COMB allowed us to look closely at the new systems and the gilthead sea bream, striped bass, skates, and other fish being studied.
Springtime plans include a striped bass release day on May 25th for participants raising striped bass and MD DNR will help us "tag" our fish so that we can get some tracking and growth data in the future if our fish happen to get hooked or netted. Stay tuned for future plans and the next Aquaculture in Action Workshop in summer 2002.