MERIDIAN, Idaho — Every year on April 22, people from all over the world stop for a moment to celebrate the planet--but for students in the aquaponics program at Meridian Academy, every day is about learning and celebrating all nature has to offer.
Aquaponics is a unique method of planting that combines aquaculture and horticulture--essentially creating a mini-ecosystem made up of fish and plants.
"We've already got tomatoes on here that are starting to grow. The kids get all excited about that," Bryant Weakley, the program coordinator, laughed as he showed our Idaho News 6 crew around the greenhouse.
Weakley loves aquaponics, but he loves teaching even more. So when he had the chance to combine those two passions, he jumped at the chance.
"I first came on and pitched it to the principal and said 'Why can't we use this as a hands on class? That's what they love to do,'" Weakley said.
The aquaponics program is the only one of its kind in the Treasure Valley, and for students taking part, being around the plants (and getting to know each plant's personality) gives them a sense of peace.
"Doing this helps me clear my head, and helps me think. I love plants and water and animals. It's really the perfect for me personally," said Booker Scott, one of the students.
"I kinda have gardening blood in me," explained Emmy Houle as she worked to pick dead leaves from a plant. "Nectar shrubs really grow anywhere but they're really droopy!"
If you're interested in supporting the program, they have a Mother's Day sale coming up on May 8th where they will sell seedlings. All of the money will go back to the greenhouse.