Aside from our “boots-on-the-ground” projects worldwide, Island Creek Oysters Foundation is committed to educating the public about the value of aquaculture as a sustainable protein source and as an answer to the question of how we are going to feed a rapidly expanding human population. Not only does aquaculture actually improve the surrounding environment, but choosing to eat farmed shellfish and certain types of farmed fin fish alleviates pressure on wild fisheries and on resources depleted by less efficient, terrestrial protein cultivation.
The goal of the ICOF Aquaculture Education Initiative is to offer a variety of interactive educational programs to teach the next generation our core value of “We Believe in Aquaculture.” During the pilot years, ICOF will work collaboratively with teachers, youth leaders and students to develop programming that will engage students as they learn about food production and sustainability using the Foundation’s vital Caribbean Harvest work in Haiti as a model.
Middle School Curriculum
ICOF and Duxbury Middle School (DMS) just completed a successful pilot year of an after school enrichment program called “Aquaculture Club.” ICOF and DMS met weekly with 15 students. Aquaculture Club will continue in 2013-14 as DMS and ICOF create a viable educational model for Middle School aged students in schools around the country.
ICOF is collaborating with Egan Maritime Institute’s Sea of Opportunities to bring aquaculture education to Nantucket Middle School students at Cyrus Pierce Middle School, Nantucket Day School and the Lighthouse School.
The Middle School program aims to expands students knowledge of aquaculture through activities such as developing and maintaining a salt water aquarium, growing algae, dissecting fish, and other hands-on science activities. Programming includes visits by guest speakers, creating video and power point presentations and an opportunity to give back by fundraising for ICOF’s work in Haiti. The Duxbury Middle School students visited the ICO Farm and our restaurant, Island Creek Oyster Bar and of course, tasted our oysters.
Special thanks to Battelle for their support of the Duxbury Middle School Aquaculture Club.
High School Curriculum and Collaborations
ICOF is collaborating with Fenway High School and Cambridge Rindge & Latin to bring Aquaculture Education into their schools. We are crafting unique programming to meet the needs of each school and their students. ICOF will be providing Science Fair topics, scheduling guest speakers, developing field trips and service trips, and offering mentoring to each of these schools.
Crossroads for Kids, C5 Teen Leadership
ICOF and Crossroads for Kids are collaborating in the Summer of 2013 to offer the C5 Teen Leadership Program a “Mini Aquaculture Club.” Interested teens in each session will learn about the power of aquaculture through our work in Haiti and Zanzibar. The Crossroads teens will visit the ICO Hatchery and Farm, engage in hands on aquaculture activities and be inspired to effect change by helping others.
Crossroads kids will participate in hands-on activities such as inoculating algae, performing algae counts, dissecting fish and creating model reef sets. While out on the water, they will experience life on the oyster farm and experience aquaculture in an up close and personal way. ICOF will continue to engage the C5 Teen Leaders throughout the school year with visits to their gatherings.
Tilapia for Schoolchildren
All of our Aquaculture Education partners are asked to share the value of philanthropy with their students. At ICOF, we believe that everyone can make a difference and we earmark all funds raised by our student to purchase Tilapia Kits for schools in rural Haiti. With these funds, a community is given a kit to farm collaboratively. Funds from the sale of the fish pay teachers salaries, pay for school supplies and improved educational opportunities for their children.