Nowadays far too few schools have proper school aquariums. The low staffing levels and large classes are a factor that makes this difficult. Fortunately, there are always dedicated people who love their aquaristics hobby so much that they take it with them to work. An aquaristics study group or elective course are ideal for this. For the children it is a unique opportunity even in an urban environment to get into contact with animals and to be able to see nature and living things from a completely different perspective.
When Mr Samland contacted JBL a few months ago and described the project, we were immediately on board. JBL is committed to promoting young people and doing something to support our hobby. By the way, the my-fish.org project is also supported the same way. This is why JBL provided the products for setting up and maintaining the aquariums free of charge. Since then, the aquarium has been an integral part of the curriculum at the Maristenkolleg Mindelheim.
In order not to give you a one-sided account of this showcase project, you will find below the original report by Daniel Samland, the head of the elective subject "Aquarium":
An important aspect of the school project Aquarium is the passing on of responsibility towards living beings as well as the development of an environmental awareness. A lot can be said about these values, but you can only really internalise them if you tackle and experience the things- in the truest sense of the word - yourself!
The aim of this special campaign is to sensitise the pupils taking part to the topic of the underwater world and the protection of its inhabitants. In doing so, they need also become active themselves and take responsibility for the animals: In addition to regular feeding, the water needs to be tested for quality using special tests and also changed. The pupils determine all kinds of measurement values in the aquarium water and formulate explanations for what the data they have measured means for the aquarium as a habitat. They come up with ideas for redesigning the aquarium and for the purchase of new fish and are involved in the concrete action all the time. The implementation of their plans and the continuous observation and care of the aquarium with its fish inhabitants is part of their everyday school life. Of course, Mr Samland, a teacher experienced in aquaristics, is available for advice and support.
After the summer holidays our elective course "Aquarium" started with six students taking part under the guidance of Mr Samland. After getting to know each other for the first time, we went straight into the first planning and work phase. After all, a total of four aquariums had to be newly set up in the break hall. The aim was to present the great variety of freshwater aquariums. Therefore the elective group decided to place each aquarium under a specific motto: South America, Lake Malawi, Asia, Lake Tanganyika. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that the existing and partly outdated equipment was not suitable for this. However, JBL was delighted to provide generous financial support for the elective project. The technical equipment is now once again state-of-the-art. For this, a heartfelt thank you to JBL.
This was followed by busy weeks during which all four aquariums were set up from scratch. This posed many a problem, for example, the aquariums are visible from two sides and serve as room dividers. However, with a lot of patience and craftsmanship the elective group solved this problem. Finally, the aquariums were brought into their final state and after a biological running-in phase, which seemed very long to the pupils, the first fish were able to move in.
The feedback from the school community is consistently positive. The four aquariums are repeatedly praised, marvelled at and admired.
The students taking part in the elective course have been enthusiastic from the very beginning and are now taking over the care and maintenance of the four aquariums under the supervision of Mr Samland.