UWSP Introduction to Aquaponics Course
UW-Stevens Point’s Continuing Education program, Department of Biology and Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility have partnered with Nelson and Pade Inc. to offer a full semester course, Introduction to Aquaponics. It is available as either a two credit or three credit course. All lectures and discussions take place online The three credit option includes a 3-day lab session at Nelson and Pade, Inc's demonstration greenhouse in Montello, WI
Attendee, Kevin Savage, a High School Science Instructor from Cincinnati, commented, "I wanted to drop you a short note to thank you for the UWSP Introduction to Aquaponics course this past spring. It was a great learning experience for me, and thoroughly enjoyed the online experience. I am glad that I opted for including the lab portion in Montello - I am a visual/kinesthetic learner and the hands-on activities helped solidify things in my mind."
The course was developed jointly by Chris Hartleb, UW-Stevens Point Professor of Biology, and Rebecca Nelson and John Pade of Nelson and Pade, Inc., a Montello-based company specializing in aquaponics technology, systems and training. Aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, re-circulating ecosystem that utilizes natural bacterial cycles to convert fish waste to plant nutrients.
The next offering for this course is the spring, 2014 semester. The lectures run from late February – early May and take place online, each with a self-study session followed by a live chat with one of the three instructors. The hands-on lab sessions for the three credit course are held in May at Nelson and Pade Inc.’s demonstration greenhouse in Montello, WI.
“This private/public partnership and the resulting UW-Stevens Point aquaponics course is a new stage in the development of the aquaponics industry and in providing comprehensive training in aquaponics at the university level,” said Hartleb.
"I am extremely excited about this partnership and the potential it represents,” says Nelson. “As the aquaponics industry grows, one of the big issues we face is a lack of trained and educated individuals to fill jobs as aquaponic greenhouse managers and workers. The launch of this course, which I believe is the first of its kind, has the potential to grow into a knowledge-based economic engine to help the aquaponics industry.”
The course covers an introduction to and history of aquaponics, applications and benefits, system components, water quality dynamics, environmental control, plant crop choices and plant biology, fish selection and fish biology, integrated pest management and biosecurity, daily operation and record keeping, good agricultural practices, economics of aquaponics and marketing.
It is open to students at UW-Stevens Point as well as students from other colleges and universities through UW-Stevens Point Continuing Education.
The aquaponics course is the newest addition to the aquaculture program at UW-Stevens Point, the only university in the state to offer an undergraduate minor in aquaculture. The program conducts applied research and offers demonstrations, education and outreach to fish farmers and those interested in aquaculture and aquaponics. In addition, the program recently added free online fish health courses. UW-Stevens Point aquaculture program has courses on aquaculture.
“The partnership with Nelson and Pade, Inc. is an example of UW-Stevens Point’s involvement in the ‘communiversity,’ helping local businesses and emerging private companies and community-based organizations achieve their entrepreneurial goals” says Hartleb.
UW-Stevens Point also partners with Nelson & Pade, Inc. to offer three-day, one-credit (or continuing education unit) Master Classes on Aquaponics and Controlled Environments. More information about these classes may be found at Nelson and Pade Inc.’s website, www.aquaponics.com.
Coming, fall 2014: a UWSP Aquaponics Certificate Program. Details to follow.
The course is open to students at UWSP as well as students from other colleges and universities through UWSP Continuing Education. Registration is through UWSP Continuing Education Office.
Next Course Offering: Spring 2015
Registration and details will be announced at a late date.