H2Grow is a hands-on aquaponic exhibit that will be installed in the Science Learning Center (SLC) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), by the ESW-CSULB chapter. The SLC, with roots dating back to 1979, is an interactive museum that immerses its visitors into the fields of astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, biology, zoology, and marine biology. After a bit of a hiatus, the Center is undergoing developments led by CSULB’s Science Education Department and a volunteer task force of faculty, staff, students, and community members. ESW-CSULB was approached to create the aquaponic system for the Center’s reopening, scheduled for sometime this spring.
While the university is providing funding for many of the new activities and exhibits, students and volunteers are the driving force behind projects that will continue the center’s rich history of inspiration and community outreach to its visitors. Chapter President Sohn Cook, and Vice President of Information Management Chris Morales, have been involved with the project since its inception. To date, the team has delivered four preliminary designs to the Center.
Initial design concept for H2Grow
While working on the initial designs, both Chris and Sohn recall that scheduling and finding a workspace were the biggest challenges, though excitement around the project has offered ESW-CSULB some support. Building has not officially begun, but there is already some buzz around the aquaponic system. Many parties are expressing interest and excitement, including school sustainability coordinators and students outside of ESW-CSULB. Chris reflects, “I’m pretty excited with how many emails I’ve gotten from people wanting to be part of the project; even as the semester progresses I get more people. [People] are joining ESW by joining our project.”
Once the Science Learning Center selects a design, the project will move forward to final design. It is anticipated that this final design phase and implementation will not take more than two months. The goal is to finish the project before summer, but its completion is dependent on the official reopening date of the Science Learning Center (which is still to be determined). In the meantime, ESW-CSULB is planning a Sustainable Doghouse Competition in April, and making plans for attending the 2017 ESW Annual Conference.