Career center students building aquaponics farm

| February 8, 2019

COSHOCTON – Natural resources students at the Coshocton County Career Center are in the process of building their very own aquaponics farm.

“You have a holding tank, a fish tank and a pump that feeds the grow beds that just have pea gravel in them,” said Tim Kilpatrick, instructor. “The fish waste gets used to feed the plants. You use one resource to feed another.”

He is planning on having the students raise lettuce and they will use either tilapia or catfish.

“We will be able to harvest the fish too when they get to a good size and then add new ones to the system,” Kilpatrick said.

This is the first time he’s had students create an aquaponics farm.

“We have a wildlife management and fisheries class and this gives them hands-on experience to go with that,” Kilpatrick said.

Students have been involved with the whole process from creating the platforms, tanks and beds to figuring out how to circulate water through the system and make sure the right amount of sunlight came into the room to promote growth of plants but not algae.

“I’m looking forward to finally getting this running,” said Caleb Maddux, a senior in the natural resources program. “We started this last year so it will be nice to see it used.”

Junior Austin Fowler is excited to see the project come to life.

“I’ve enjoyed learning how to make it work and about everything we have to do to maintain the growth of the plants and fish,” he said.

Fowler and Maddux both agreed that the natural resources program is helping prepare them for their future careers.

Maddux hopes to become an arborist and said he has gained a lot of skills and knowledge during his time at the career center.

“This program helped me get a job at Clary Gardens where I am the lead groundskeeper,” Maddux said.

Fowler said he enjoys when they get to work outdoors. He plans to attend Hocking College and major in forestry management.

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Category: Education

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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