Aquariums in the Classroom: Riverview High School’s Aquascience Program
Aquarium keeping is more than just a great hobby. It also teaches valuable lessons about science, nature, and even careers in aquatics! A perfect example of this can be seen at Riverview High School, in Sarasota, FL, where innovators Katrin Rudge and her colleagues use aquarium systems to teach aquaculture, natural resources, engineering, and business. Riverview High School’s Aquascience Program currently enrolls approximately 250-300 students, and their “Stars to Starfish” program is gearing up to educate not only these high schoolers, but hundreds of visiting grade school students as well.
My guests today are Katrin Rudge and her students Matt LaVigna, Wes Robertson, Tyler Fushikoshi. Join us, as we discuss aquariums in the classroom at Riverview High School!
Katrin Rudge received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland in 1988. She continued her graduate work and earned a Master of Science degree in 1992, through the University of Maryland’s Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences Program (MEES). Her professional experiences include a research assistantship with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), establishing her own business Chesapeake Workshops Unlimited, where Katrin coordinating numerous technical & scientific workshops for the Chesapeake Bay Program. After moving to Sarasota, Katrin felt that her experiences would give her a unique perspective in teaching. She is excited to be teaching Honors Marine Science at Riverview High School and has been driving force behind the establishment of the Aquascience Academy at Riverview.
Matt is a junior at Riverview this year and has had saltwater fish tanks since a very early age and has been very successful in growing corals over the past few years. Matt will be our greenhouse manager and coral expert, in charge of our saltwater side and will be training our next generation of aquarists. Matt hopes to continue in his pursuit of growing corals artificially and successfully for the aquarium trade.
Wes is a senior at Riverview High School in the Aquasciences Program and has learned about aquaria both freshwater and saltwater by actually helping with the tanks every day. He plans to open up a restaurant with aquaponically (using nutrients from the fish tanks) grown fruits and vegetables and serve fresh fish grown on his aquaculture farm!
Tyler is a senior at Riverview and is actually an engineering student by training who we have converted to doing engineering on our fish tanks. He has been instrumental in helping us design and build our current broodstock and juvenile tank systems. Tyler also plans to pursue a future career in mechanical engineering which could apply to aquaculture.