Tarleton State University has a new program centered around aquaponics to increase student enrollment. A few years back enrollment in their turf management program began to decline. Dr. Hennen Cummings, a professor at the school, began looking for other programs he could offer within the Wildlife, Sustainability, and Ecosystem Sciences Department to raise enrollment.
Dr. Cummings partnered with a local organization to help him design a system after he learned about aquaponics through Murray Hallam’s YouTube channel. He then spent a weekend at the birthplace of aquaponics doing a 3-day training at the Dr. Rackocy designed system at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Armed with all the knowledge he needed he began offering aquaponics as an option when the Turf management program ended in 2013. Students work in the greenhouse on a hybrid system that features multiple types of aquaponics growing. The students work on deep water culture beds, media beds and are currently building vertical towers to also add to their greenhouse system.
The students raise tilapia, prawns, and catfish as well as greens, herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Dr. Cummings has the students harvest and prepare dinners using the produce and fish from the system. The students learn how to properly fillet and prepare a fish and build community with each other over a shared meal.
To read an interview with Dr. Cummings and learn more about his program click here.