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Maine teacher shows students how to grow without soil

Robin LaRochelle teaches aquaponics and aquaculture at Jonesport-Beals High School. She's believed to be the only teacher in all of Maine solely dedicated to showing students how to grow crops without soil. LaRochelle's inspiration to teach these courses comes from her own high school experience.

LaRochelle's dream job has always been to teach students about aquaponics and aquaculture. She said it's all because of positive experiences during her own school years, and she wants to give that experience back to others. "I like to think the classes are a way for students to grow their own food," she said. "I try to tell them all the jobs that are out there for students to possibly get, what kind of schools they might have to go to, and careers they can go into right out of school." 

Her students are learning how to grow vegetables like lettuce in the classroom without using soil. Students are also growing potatoes in a greenhouse, using a healthy serving of nutrient-rich water from two tanks full of tilapia. LaRochelle is helping to inspire young girls in her classes that they, too, can pursue a career in science.

"It's a really helpful class, and I think a lot more people should be taking it," Abigail Lunn, who is in LaRochelle's aquaponics course, said. "I don't think it's something that's gender-based. I think anybody can do it."

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