Volume 3 2012

Visitors to Science Expeditions were drawn to the fish in the aquaponics display. Nearly 3,000 people attended UW-Madison’s event.


Fish for the Future on Display at Science Expeditions Daylong Event

In April, the University of Wisconsin-Madison threw open the doors of its labs and invited in the rest of the state for some hands-on science through a daylong event called Science Expeditions.

Among the hundreds who RSVP’d “yes” was KarieAnn Zeinert from Neenah who made the hour-and-a-half-long drive from the Fox River Valley to learn more about aquaponics by visiting UW Sea Grant’s display.

“It was the display that brought me down from the Fox Valley and the rest of the exhibits were a bonus! I saw the excitement and wonder in the children’s eyes that I would hope to see in my classroom,” said the 4th grade teacher at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School. “I would appreciate the opportunity to pilot a program that could help us grow more of our school lunch program’s fruits, vegetables and fish.”

Aquaponics is a sustainable fish/salad greens production system. The fish fertilize the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish in a closed-loop system. Hundreds of people stopped by to see the dozen or so perch that cruised the large tank, and the greenery topping it.

“We had a lot of people interested in the exhibit,” John Karl said. “People loved seeing the live fish and many were intrigued that you could produce two kinds of food through this symbiotic system.”

Karl is a science communicator with Wisconsin Sea Grant and was one of the exhibit’s organizers. He also shared a brochure with event-goers, so the learning could continue.

The Aquatic Sciences Center is the administrative home of the
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute & University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute.

©2011 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents