Teens from eight area high schools, their teachers and chaperones participated in hands-on learning activities and career exploration at the biennial Aquatic Sciences Day at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Aquaculture Research Station.

“Students enjoy getting out of the classroom and getting to experience a little bit of everything that we do here at the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center,” said Rebecca Lochmann, interim director of the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence. “We hope this will stimulate their interest in science and increase their awareness of career options in aquatic sciences.”

Students saw a series of experiments that showed how pH, alkalinity and carbon dioxide affect fish and humans. They also learned about fish health problems associated with nutritional deficiencies; the techniques used to corral wild fish for research; and how to determine the age of fish.

At another of the 14 learning stations, students played a computer game designed to see if an aquaculture or fisheries career would be of interest to them. Students petted an alligator and saw a large snapping turtle.

Other learning stations included “Fish as Art,” where students used acrylic paint and rubber fish to create masterpieces and a fishing derby, where students received tips on fishing or were introduced to recreational fishing.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission mobile aquarium and a modern fishing boat, equipped with all the gear needed for catching and keeping caught fish alive, were on display.

UAPB faculty and staff were at each learning station to teach the lessons and interact with students. The Aquaculture Research Station includes more than 100 research ponds and associated research facilities.

Many of the interactive learning stations are available upon request and will be brought to the high school by UAPB aquaculture/fisheries faculty.

For detailr, to be put on the mailing list for information on the next Aquatic Sciences day or to request a learning station, contact Delila Thurman at 870-575-8968 or email thurmand@uapb.edu.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its Extension and Research programs and services without discrimination.

— Carol Sanders is a writer/editor with UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.