Student Citizen Science
Flagstaff Academy's Randall Geo-Conservatory geodome received a generous grant from the Colorado Garden Foundation to establish an aquaponics system.
An aquaponics system is a small scale ecosystem consisting of fish, plants, beneficial bacteria and worms living in a self-sustaining community where each life form supports the others. Nutrient rich (fish waste and algae) water from the fish tank flows into student accessible growing bins, fertilizing the plants. Instead of soil, clay pellets hold the roots of the plants and are the media for the bacteria and worm communities, which convert nutrients into plant friendly forms. The filtered water is then cycled back into the fish tank.
The aquaponics system is an exciting part of our Greenhouse, Garden and Outdoor classroom curriculum on teaching students how an ecosystem works.
Native Prairie Grassland GardenAs part of our sustainable and green educational commitment, we planted a Native Prairie Grassland area in the outdoor gardens at Flagstaff. These grasses support native species of insects and the native prairie grasses are very adaptable and can grown well in poorer soil quality than most other garden plants. They are low water tolerant, which makes them an ideal choice for our dry Colorado climate.
The Native Prairie Grassland Garden is part of the Greenhouse, Garden, and Outdoor Classroom's "The Science of Soil" and "Water Cycle" curriculum.
Watch a video on the "Water Cycle":
Our Garden and Outdoor Classroom has a pollinator garden, which includes milkweed and other pollinator-attracting plants. Flagstaff has participated in the "Bees Needs" interactive, citizen science program that educates about native bees and wasps found in the Greater Boulder Area.
At various times we have watched the magical metamorphosis of Monarchs, from larva (pictured above) to adult Monarch butterflies. Read more about how our efforts are contributing to the national efforts to rescue this critical species.
To learn more about the importance of our pollinator garden:
Worms, Worms, Worms and Composting
Our hands-on learning includes getting to know our red wigglers up close and personal! Our outdoor curriculum includes lessons in worm composting or vermicomposting, which teaches our students about the critical role worms play in soil health, recycling organics and other food scrap material. Worms eat the bacteria on decaying materials, 'bad bacteria' is digested to 'good bacteria, which we value as nutrient-rich compost!
Learn more about our worm compost!
Uncle Jim's Worm Farm (that where we got our initial red wigglers)