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|Fruits of their labor|
|Written by Gillian Smith|
|Wednesday, 09 October 2013 08:51|
Now in its second year, the Aquaculture Club at Duxbury Middle School is focusing on food production from start to finish and the impact a coastal Massachusetts town can have on communities around the world.
DMS paired up with the Island Creek Oyster Foundation for a pilot program on the club last year and, due to its popularity, the club began its second year on Tuesday. The club, an extra-curricular activity open to all students at DMS, meets for an hour each week to learn about aquaculture and to explore various philanthropic opportunities.
This year, Stacey O’Brien, culinary arts teacher at Dux- bury High School, will work with science teacher Suzanne Spagnoli and Michelle Conway from Island Creek Oys- ters to pull in different aspects of food production, including going down to the bay to collect sea creatures and visiting the Island Creek restaurant to see where the food ends up. The club will also raise money for the tilapia farms in Haiti, a project supported by the Island Creek Oyster Foundation.
Spagnoli said this year the club will pick up where it left off, bringing inspiration and motivation to the students to help raise money for the com- munities in Haiti and Zanzibar, where the Island Creek projects are ongoing.
“Haiti will be our focus this year,” Spagnoli said. “We will raise money for schools so the teachers get paid and the students will be fed. Our goal is to help the kids connect with food and the aquaculture process and to see how it all impacts global communities.”
The students will hear presentations from guest speakers, hold fundraisers throughout the year and will go on field trips to get hands-on experience. Other aspects of the club include two fish tanks that the students will work with and taste-testings to familiarize themselves with various sea creatures.
The first fundraiser will be “Halloween for Haiti,” where students can donate money in order to dress up on Halloween. With a focus on fundraising and supporting education, O’Brien said students are able to put themselves in the shoes of students in Haiti.
“Through the club, students realize what is taking place in their own backyard,” she said. “This age group is so inquisitive and they don’t hold back on their questions. They want to know why the kids in Haiti don’t get to eat and what they do during the day if they’re not in school. It’s wonderful to watch them take it all in and figure out how they can make a difference.”
November will begin a series of guest speakers, as Dr. Valentin Abe will visit Dux- bury schools for a presentation for high school students and sixth graders. Dr. Abe is the found of the Caribbean Harvest Foundation, which has partnered with the Island Creek Oyster Foundation on a tilapia fish-farming program. Past speakers include Island Creek vice president of marketing Chris Sherman and Duxbury High School graduate Michelle Wong.
“We’ve found that through the speakers and projects, students come in hoping for taste testing and fish touching, but end up having thought-provoking discussions,” Spagnoli said. “You hear things from kids that are more inspiring than we could hope for.”
The group will meet every Tuesday for an hour. Spagnoli said she hopes to have a solid group of about 20 students each week attend the club. All students are welcome to come to any meeting during the school year. With rotating responsibilities each week, students will get the opportunity to explore different areas, including taking water samples, working on advertising and fundrais- ing. In Boston, the club hopes to visit the Boston Aquarium for a guided tour of areas that pertain to aquaculture.
“In such a maritime-dominated town, we are showing them a different leg, one that connects them to food and the positive impact it can have,” O’Brien said. “We have a phenomenal group of kids who develop into philanthropists.”