By Matthew A. Smith, Aquaculture Extension Specialist
It’s been a busy few months for the Extension Aquaculture Program since the last Ohio State University South Centers Connections Newsletter was released. Our first big education moment of the quarter came during the annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review (FSR) in London, Ohio from September 20-22. I presented three presentations on September 21; Aquaculture Opportunities in Ohio, Sustainable Aquaponics, and Aquaponics: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The last presentation was certainly the most popular with over 70 attendees, and total presentation attendees were over 120 for the day. In addition to the presentations, we had a mobile barrelponics display in the Firebaugh building. The running display consisted of kale, red-leaf lettuce, and goldfish. Fresh Harvest Farm allowed OSU to borrow the display and assisted in education on the second day. FSR total attendance was over 125,000 and at least 500 people passed by the display and talked to someone about aquaculture, aquaponics, the Ohio Aquaculture Association, and the Aquaculture Boot Camp 2 program. Needless to say, OSU South Centers will have their own mobile aquaponics system for education purposes in the near future.
The next large education moment of the quarter took place right here in Piketon, Ohio. Science Alliance is an annual high school education event that was developed and coordinated by the Department of Energy and Fluor-BWXT. It is held at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant site and was established to educate high school students about STEM opportunities throughout the country. This year over 1,400 junior and senior students from Pike, Ross, and Scioto County learned about aquaculture, aquaponics, conservation, and agriculture education possibilities through the barrelponics presentation. It was quite an event with 10 talks a day for 3 days and 30 – 40 students per talk.
Lastly, the OSU South Centers 25th anniversary celebration was a huge success and a few families in the area submitted an application for ABC-2 following tours of the educational aquaponics system. E-mails and phone calls are frequent as we approach the beginner aquaculture and aquaponic farmer workshop that will be held at the OSU South Centers on October 29th. We encourage those interested to contact us or the Ohio Aquaculture Association.