Sustainable seaweed farming
Learning by doing
The Harbour School is no ordinary school. Committed to putting the SDGs in practice, the school launched an educational seaweed farming project to introduce students and the school community to sustainable agriculture. The school community has just started their second year of seaweed farming. Students not only learn about seaweed, but they also get to build a seaweed farm that is deployed to sea. The project provides ample learning opportunities from marine science and weather analysis to technical design skills. Dean Lea, Foundry Teacher, shares: ‘By living it - not just talking about it, but actually doing it - students really grasp the concepts and remember them, even after some time.’ Dr Jadis Blurton, Head of School, adds on to that ‘The Harbour School has always valued experiential education, and whenever possible endorses authentic and real experiences.’
The cultivation harvest window for seaweeds is quite specific. One year the students were too late, and the seawater had already warmed up, so the crop died… Trial and error is inevitable to the learning journey.
Yet every year students learn, and a new batch of students designs and builds their own farms. Adding levels of complexity, the current batch is working on a 3D farm with underwater levels of the seaweed farms to try grow clams and oysters. The assumption is that these will benefit from the water filtered by the seaweed. As they go along, the students will also collect data on the best circumstances to grow the crop. The weeds itself will, in time, no doubt also find its way in the curriculum; no coincidence perhaps this year’s school production is ‘The Little Mermaid’.
Award winning journey
Seaweed is used and grown a lot in Asia, yet not commonly in Hong Kong. The Harbour School’s seaweed farming project is a first-of-a-kind in the city. The school was granted an Environment and Conservation Fund to start the seaweed project. And the seaweed farming was awarded with the World’s Best School Prizes under the Environmental Action Category.