Istrouma High students raising fish, building ecosystem in new course

Istrouma High students raising fish, building ecosystem in new course
The program started at Brookstown Middle (Source: WAFB)
The program started at Brookstown Middle (Source: WAFB)
All the fish and vegetables raised by students will be sold to Tony's Seafood and Capitol City Produce (Source: WAFB)
All the fish and vegetables raised by students will be sold to Tony's Seafood and Capitol City Produce (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Schools of baby catfish can look forward to a big new home in the future, one that was built by students at Istrouma High School. Their goal is to turn the classroom lab into a thriving ecosystem with fish and vegetables.

"So the idea is the kids to raise the crop from the beginning stages, to the stage where we have harvest time," said Andrew Holmes, who teaches the new course.

The class is called aquaponics. It all started with a pilot program at Brookstown Middle School that was funded with the help of ExxonMobil. That led to Istrouma High adding its own classes, with 110 students signed up for this semester.

"The idea is to get the kids to understand that this is a STEM process," Holmes said. "The science, the technology, the engineering, the math."

"We're gonna' have even more food, more fish, and everything is just gonna' be big and colorful," said Kiya Mitchell, a freshman enrolled in the program.

All of the vegetables and fish raised by the students will eventually be sold to Tony's Seafood and Capitol City Produce. The money made from the sales goes to a college fund for students to study STEM fields at LSU.

"We've created a fun learning environment here to introduce those STEM concepts that the kids will appreciate and enjoy the experience," said Ronnie Morris, an ExxonMobil employee that started the program at Brookstown. "And then take that and build on it."

Students will be producing vegetables and herbs like lettuce and basil, and also add more fish like rainbow trout.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.