Friday , 15 December 2017
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Aquaponic Dreams Becoming Reality at Discovery High

Story by Jackson Lamb; Republished from

Students at Discovery High School will now be able to try their hand at hydroponics with the upcoming addition of a greenhouse!

“Urban areas need the education of being able to grow produce, and a greenhouse has ability to spark the education and the students here at Discovery,” says Gene Scronce, an environmental science and biology teacher at Discovery.

IMG_1458Scronce wanted to educate Discovery students about environmentally friendly ways of growing aquatic plants and recycling water. What better way to do that than to have a greenhouse located on campus? However, there was one major obstacle on the journey of getting a greenhouse:  the lack of funding for the project.

The parents and community associated with Discovery High School have always had an amazing reputation for helping raise money for different kinds of projects here, and this one was no let down. After a goal of $1,500 set by Jody Dixon, a history teacher here at Discovery, was met, the community continued to donate until a total of $1,600 was achieved. All of the fundraising and planning for the greenhouse was accomplished in under a month.

The planned size for the greenhouse is 20’ wide x 30’ long, and it will be used to house the various aquaponics and discovery greenhousehydroponics projects done throughout this school year, and future school years to come. If you are unfamiliar with the terms aquaponics and hydroponics, they refer to any type of system that combines natural aquaculture in a controlled environment.

There are cons of raising plants and animals with too much interference in the naturally-occurring water systems, and one of those is that the waste from different species of fish can crowd the ecosystem, thereby decreasing the quality of the water, and also the quality of life for the fish. The implementation of aquaponics fixes these naturally-occurring problems by using nutrients to break down waste in water, which is then recycled to create “healthy” plant food that is used to water and fertilize plants within the ecosystem, increasing their growth.

A6CECF2E-094A-4B03-BE71-98D212E7159AAfter securing funding for the project, there were a few other issues in finalizing the plans for the campus greenhouse. “We had difficulty meeting the requirements set by the school system to put a structure on school grounds, and the other one was finding an appropriate greenhouse for our needs,” states Scronce as he speaks about some of the plan’s obstacles.

Even with the requirements bearing many problems, the Discovery community, supporters, and the prolonged encouragement from the students managed to pull the plan through, and thus once again, a new tool for education will take effect.

About James Frye

James Frye (@mrjamesfrye) serves as Instructional Technology Facilitator and Public Information Officer for Newton-Conover City Schools. Formerly, he was an English and Journalism Teacher at Newton-Conover High School and a Blended/Virtual English Teacher. He is a NC Teaching Fellow and studied education abroad at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal in Germany. James holds a Post-Masters Certificate in Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in English/Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law with The University of Kentucky. In addition to modeling technological and leadership innovation and leading various professional learning, Jamie also serves statewide on the NC Digital Learning Initiative Advisory Board/Home Base Design Team, the NC Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Board of Directors, the #NCed Leadership Team, and is co-founder of Edcamp WNC. He is a member of the NC Digital Leadership Coaches’ Network, and was named an international Emerging Leader by ASCD in 2015. He resides in Hickory with his wife and their baby girl.

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