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Cal Braid heads Fort Macleod Community Aquaponic Greenhouse Society youth program

LAWRENCE GLEASON, GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR

cal braid

Cal Braid is the youth co-ordinator for the Fort Macleod Community Aquaponic Greenhouse Society.

The Fort Macleod Community Aquaponic Greenhouse Society has a new youth co-ordinator, Cal Braid, who is building a small aquaponics system in W.A. Day school and other schools in Livingstone Range School Division.
The project is the result of funding, through to 2020, from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program.
Both students and school staff will learn about aquaponics through hands-on learning as the systems are built right in the school.
“We are going to be putting a couple more in the third week of January, in Blairmore and Coleman,” said Braid, who started in his position Dec. 1.
“We have all the materials and what we do is we assemble them on site, at the schools, and let the staff and the students to be hands-on with it.”
Each completed aquaponic unit is about six feet high and three feet wide, with a fish tank and a plant grow bed, and some pumps.
“The aquaponics systems are not huge,” Braid said. “They are a pretty small unit.”
The fish are the first part of the system put in place.
“The aquaponics takes some time to develop,” Braid said. “You add plants when the conditions are right. At this point we have fish. A week from today we may begin adding plants.”
Plants grown in the aquaponics system will be able to be used for school nutrition programs.
“We can grow herbs and any sort of leafy greens,” Braid said. “We have some tomatoes that I will be putting in this week.”
Braid’s background includes graduation in Environmental Science from Lethbridge College in 2005.
For the last year he has worked at Lethbridge College in the aquaculture centre.
Braid also has water treatment plant experience, working with water chemistry.
Presentations to students by the Fort Macleod Community Aquaponic Greenhouse Society began last year and continue to get students informed about aquaponics.
Braid, presently in Lethbridge, said he will be setting up an office in Fort Macleod “in the next two weeks.”

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