Mark Atta

Mayor Joseph Fern Elementary
Honolulu, HI

Project Description:

“Aquaponics System”, Atta’s innovative program idea, utilizes a cutting-edge type of agriculture combining the principles of hydroponics (growing plants in water) with aquaculture (fish farming) in a recirculating system. It results in a self-contained system with nutrients continually being added to the water as fish fertilize the plants, plants remove excess nitrates that can harm the fish, and gravel provides natural filtration for the entire complex. This is similar to the way it occurs in a natural stream or pond. Students will be able to learn firsthand the benefits of an aquaponics system and how it relates to larger issues like environmental responsibility and food sustainability. They will maintain the aquaponics system; feed the fish; and experiment with the different components. For example, they will analyze which spacing equation between each plant yields optimal results. The class also will host an Aquaponics Awareness Day for the community to become more familiar with the practice. Atta, who lives in Alea, hopes his program inspires students to learn about an industry on the rise and further their real-world problem solving with out-of-the-box thinking.