NBC4 is committed to making a difference in school classrooms in Central Ohio. That’s why NBC4 is giving away $30,000 to schools in need with the NBC4 Make A Difference School Grant.
The grants are divided into three size divisions, and one of the finalists in the large school division, as voted on and chosen by a panel of judges, is Dublin Scioto High School.
Gardner Watkins’ AP environmental science class at Dublin Scioto is using fish and an aquarium as more than just an aquatic diversion. It’s a process that has led to a year-long project documenting and creating a natural water cycle titled “Filtering A Sustainable Future.”
Senior Emma Easley explained that what goes into the fish must come out, creating potentially toxic ammonia levels. But nature provides as bacteria begins the transformation.
“There’s a six- to eight-week [time period] which ammonia is turned into nitrate,” Easley said.
More than 200 students have been involved, recreating the naturally occurring cycle. It takes expertise in several areas.
“We’re involving AP classes, physics, environmental science, biology, chemistry,” Watkins said.
Seniors Marcus Myers and Ryan Roll designed a system of PVC pipes and valves to keep water levels consistent as the water moves and is filtered. Watkins said that keeping the tanks from overflowing was an early challenge that led to occasional showers when his class was on the second floor.
“Poor Gayle Miller, our Spanish teacher, I had to get her a bath hat. It was dripping down at least twice a year,” Watkins said.
Taking the weekly pH level test, the water is eventually filtered through plant life where nitrates are absorbed, returning the fresh water back to the fish tanks.
Roll said that such a system could lead to self-sufficiency.
“Have your own fish, you could grow plants, you could grow and not have to buy at a grocery store,” Roll said.
Students said they want to do the project on a larger scale, which is where the $10,000 NBC4 Make A Difference School Grant would come in.
“Dublin does a fantastic job giving us money, but this goes beyond. We don’t have the money to build this system up to be world class. This would be world class,” Watkins said.
We will announce the winners in the large size division next Thursday on NBC4 at 6 a.m.