Northshore High junior Beau Arieux said he knew nothing of aquaponics or hydroponics before enrolling in the school’s agriscience education class two years ago. Now he can tell you in detail how to grow plants without soil — hydroponics — and how fish wastewater can be used in an enclosed system to do the same thing — aquaponics. “To see it done and be a part of the process is a lot of fun,” Arieux said. “You learn so much but most of the work is hands-on. And it’s really common sense on how to do all this.”
Northshore agriscience teachers Paul Payne and Paul Theriot have developed and built a lab — with the help of students — that holds two 1,200-gallon fish tanks that grow hybrid bream. The facility also houses several hydroponic and aquaponic units.
It’s these unique programs that have filled Northshore’s agriscience classes despite the fact that there are few farm or rural students in the subdivisions east of Slidell who attend the suburban school. From the lab, the students learn about the latest techniques in growing plants without soil and how to farm fish, a part of aquaculture.