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US (LA): Middle school wins Green Ribbon award for aquaponics program

Brookstown Middle in Baton Rouge is the only Louisiana school, and one of only 35 across the country, to win U.S. Green Ribbon awards this year from the federal government for its commitment to conservation and environmental education.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the latest rounds of Green Ribbons, launched in 2012, on Wednesday. Brookstown was nominated by state officials.

"When a combination of great students, great teachers and great administrators come together, the end result is always phenomenal,” Brookstown Principal James Smith said.

The small north Baton Rouge middle school has made a name for itself via a program for aquaponics, a marriage of aquaculture and hydroponics. Started two years ago with the help of Ronnie Morris, an electrical engineer at ExxonMobil, a third of the Brookstown Middle’s 180-plus students are enrolled.

As part of that program, students raise catfish and use the fish waste to grow lettuce. They harvested a total of 140 pounds of lettuce in 21 different varieties during the first semester of the current school year. Some of the lettuce was served to students in the school cafeteria.

Read more at The Advocate (Charles Lussier)

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