Students at Merrill High School now have the unique opportunity to be a part of the Perch in the Classroom program. The school received the fish and supplies from the Genoa National Fish Hatchery and those involved are using the resources to learn more about aquaculture.
"The fact that students are getting hands-on experience with aquaculture is a huge deal," says Brigid Reimann, the agriculture instructor and FFA adviser at Merrill High School. "Very many schools don't have this opportunity and it's a great opportunity for students to learn about one of the many different facets of agriculture."
The students in the program learn about the perch, what it takes to raise them and the ecosystem they live in.
"There's a lot more [to it] than it looks," says Ben Sosnovske, a junior at Merrill High School. "It's not just putting fish in some water and watching them grow and feeding them every day. There's a lot of things that you have to take care of; making sure the water is clean, that it's healthy for them."
"They need certain things otherwise they die," adds Tanner Pettit, a sophomore in the program. "They need their oxygen; they need filtration otherwise there's too much stuff in the water and they can't live. There's a lot more components to fish than I thought."
Everyone involved with the program is learning something new as the program progresses.
"I'm learning that sometimes the aquaculture thing is kind of like a puzzle," says Reimann. "You got to tweak things here and a little thing there until you get it just right and it's exciting and a new adventure every day."
The students plan to fry the fish after they're fully grown and host a fundraiser benefiting the FFA program at the high school.
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