LaRaven Canada smiled as she held up the catfish she caught during the recent Aquatic Sciences Day at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
After carefully taking the big fish off the hook, the Dollarway High School senior slowly lowered it back into the pond and watched it splash away. While LaRaven didn’t keep the catfish, event organizers hope she and other students will retain some of the knowledge they gained that day.
More than 250 high school students participated in such activities as fishing, analyzing water quality, feeding fry, learning about fish nutrition and exploring careers in aquaculture and fisheries.
“Aquatic Sciences Day is an annual event that we organize to encourage high school students to explore some of the many fascinating activities and career paths that involve aquatic resources in Arkansas,” said Carole Engle, director of the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence.
“The day is designed as a relaxed environment for students to have fun doing science and math with aquatic animals, fish farming and water resources while also learning key concepts in their curriculum.”
Students, teachers and chaperones visited 19 interactive stations manned by UAPB professors, Extension specialists, students and staff. They learned about growing plants and fish simultaneously in aquaponics, how to determine the age of fish and saw ultrasound images of eggs inside fish.
Visitors also played a game that used statistics to determine the number of fish in a population, learned how prices of fish are influenced by various factors and talked with members of the UAPB Collegiate Fishing Team. Other stops included the fishing derby and Fish as Art where students used acrylic paint and rubber fish to create colorful, textured artwork.
The UAPB Aquaculture Research Station includes 113 research ponds and associated research facilities. Many of the interactive learning stations are available upon request and will be brought to high schools throughout the year by Aquaculture/Fisheries faculty.
For more information about Aquatic Sciences Day or to request that a learning station be brought to your school, contact Casandra Hawkins-Byrd at 870-575-8123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.