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2019 Ambassador: Sofia Leotta

19 Nov 2019 Ambassador: Sofia Leotta

Sofia Leotta
Inglemoor High School
Kenmore, WA

FUTURE CAREER GOALS

Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, or Urban Planning

DESCRIPTION OF SCHOOL/WHERE PROJECT WILL BE IMPLEMENTED

Located in Kenmore, Washington, Inglemoor High School offers a wide range of engaging IB, AP, and WANIC courses for over 1,800 students. Nationally ranked competitive clubs foster career readiness, alongside CTE classes open to all grades and skill levels. Inglemoor High School takes pride in recent sustainability efforts initiated by IHS Earth Corps. As a result of waste reduction, recycling, and energy conservation, the campus achieved Level 2 Green School status in 2019 by the King County Green Schools Program.

WHAT ORIGINALLY MADE YOU INTERESTED IN THIS PROJECT?

As a member of the professional development program Sustainability Ambassadors, I am interested in empowering my community through collaborative, environmental projects. This has driven me towards high-school based aquaponics. Aquaponics offers an opportunity to engage students under collective, sustainable goals, aimed at addressing food insecurity both locally and worldwide. Aquaponics demonstrate the future of farming. By using over 90% less water than traditional agriculture systems, aquaponics serve as a viable option to feed growing communities and simultaneously preserve natural resources.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO BRING THIS PROJECT INTO YOUR COMMUNITY?

I am interested in setting up an aquaponics system at Inglemoor High School to offer students a multidisciplinary education experience centered around sustainable agriculture. With hands on activities and learning opportunities, aquaponics would enable students to think beyond conventional farming methods. I want to shift that way my peers view agriculture. Aquaponics promotes a symbiotic system that conserves water, reduces land use, and optimizes output. By sharing this with my high school, I hope to instigate greater usage of aquaponics systems across my community.

WHAT CURRENT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE? WHAT TEACHERS COULD INTEGRATE THIS PROJECT?

Inglemoor High School’s Earth Corps and Science Olympiad clubs could serve as a strong platform for launching an aquaponics system. Teachers and students from IB-Biology, AP Environmental Science, IB-Design Technology, and IB-Chemistry could also participate to learn about sustainable agriculture. Aquaponics bridge the gap between theoretical studies and real-world applications of science.

WHAT IS YOUR PLAN/OBJECTIVE?

Plan: Establish a student-led aquaponics system at Inglemoor High School based in IHS Earth Corps as a multifaceted learning approach towards sustainable agriculture.

Steps:

  1. Email students, staff, PTA, ASB, and school board members to introduce my plan
  2. Build a team of students committed to working on aquaponics at IHS
  3. Begin aquaponics with a small-scale system
  4. Collect regular data and maintain the system with aquaponics team
  5. Report progress to IHS, community members, and other schools
  6.  Expand Inglemoor’s aquaponics system with fundraisers and grants

Objectives 

-Provide opportunities for students in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and CTE courses to apply classroom skills to the aquaponics system

-Bring awareness to both local and global food insecurity issues, while considering how aquaponics can act a sustainable solution to feed growing populations

-Promote the wider use of aquaponics in our community and other schools through published reports demonstrating Inglemoor’s progress

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED?

Funding aquaponics at Inglemoor High School is the primary challenge of my project. I intend to apply for grants and set up a page on Donor’s Choice with ISB’s assistance. Finding a teacher to mentor our team, who is able to provide their classroom, could also be a complication. This process would be made simpler by working with teacher advisors for existing clubs at IHS.  I also plan to contact staff during the summer, introducing my plan before the 2019-2020 school year begins.