UAPB’s Aquatic Sciences Day brings science, math to life

Hundreds of teens recently spent time fishing, castnetting, calculating the age of fish and more during Aquatic Sciences Day at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

A record 871 students from 19 Arkansas junior and senior high schools came out for a morning of hands-on activities, instruction and career exploration at the Aquaculture Research Station.

“Aquatic Sciences Day is an exciting day for us to share our love of science, aquaculture and fisheries with high school students and teachers,” said Carole Engle, director of the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence. “The day is designed to integrate science and math into fun, hands-on activities that tie into the students’ curriculum.”

Students, along with teachers and chaperones, learned as they visited 21 interactive stations manned by UAPB professors, Extension specialists, students and staff. They learned how to determine the age of fish, how to grow plants and fish with aquaponics and saw ultrasound images of eggs in fish.

Visitors also learned about the international seafood trade and played a game that used statistics to determine the numbers of fish in a population. Other stops included the fishing derby and Fish as Art, where students used acrylic paint and rubber fish to create textured masterpieces.

“It’s a fun, yet educational, alternative to being at school,” said Adam Croft, a senior at White Hall High School, who said his favorite activity was the fishing derby.

“I enjoyed painting the fish,” said Courtney Gardner, a senior at Watson Chapel High School. “(Aquatic Sciences Day) is really interesting because you can do different things and learn different facts about fish. I don’t fish but I guess I’ll learn today.”

At a nearby pond, Watson Chapel High School senior Chapel Jones stood patiently waiting with reel in hand to complete her mission for the day. “I just want to catch a fish,” she said.

“It was really fun,” said Miracle Dorn, a junior at White Hall High School. “I enjoyed castnetting and I learned that for fish to be healthy, they have to eat well.”

The UAPB Aquaculture Research Station includes 113 research ponds and associated research facilities.

For more information about Aquatic Sciences Day or to be put on the mailing list for information on the next Aquatic Sciences Day, contact Casandra Hawkins-Byrd at 870-575-8123 or e-mail

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Bobbie Crockett is an Extension specialist, communications, with the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.