March 3, 2021

Aquaponics dome planned for Jamaica

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1472355386_60d7 By LARRY C. BOWERS From Cleveland Daily Banner

CHS, Lee students team to assist deaf students

Students of Cleveland High School engineering instructor Ben Williams are hopeful of traveling to the next summer.

Williams’ students traveled to Nicaragua two years ago to construct an aquaponics dome to assist a rural orphanage. Last year, the students worked to provide computers to One Heart African, under the direction of local missionaries Anna and Ryan Carmichael.

This year the students will be partnering with ’s Deaf Program in assisting Servant’s ., planning, designing and constructing an aquaponics facility for Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf.

, who founded Servant’s Heart Jamaica in 2011 with his wife, Vanessa, was in Cleveland this week to meet with Williams’ students and review plans for next summer’s project.

Early Wednesday morning, he met with just under 40 students in Williams’ preliminary engineering class. These students are preparing basic designs for an aquaponics structure to be constructed by Cleveland’s senior engineering students next summer at the Jamaican school.

Scales explained the mission of Servant Heart Jamaica at the Christian deaf school, and the multi-phased project which will provide sustainable food and products. The partnership with Cleveland and Lee University students i1472355388_731as one of several partnerships for the service organization.

The Cleveland students are planning to make the Caribbean trip in late June (2017), but first must obtain­ approval of the Cleveland Board of Education.

Scales told the students Wednesday Servant’s Heart Jamaica was formed with a mission to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of the deaf on the Caribbean island. The organization is working closely with Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf in the Eden District of St. James, Jamaica.

Plans are to construct a multi-phased complex on six-plus acres of land a short distance from the school.

Phase one of the plan is team housing on the property, and housing for transitioning graduates.

Phase two will include a dedicated deaf church, and a multi-purpose building.

Scales said there are limited opportunities for more than 154,900 deaf people in Jamaica to attend church. He said a few churches offer a deaf ministry, but there are only two dedicated deaf churches on the island.

Future plans are to construct a mission house for pastor retreats and conferences.

He said one of the biggest challenges is a vocational program to construct a self-sustaining fish and crop system, of which the Cleveland students will be involved.

“Servant’s Heart Jamaica is always looking for new doors of opportunity to meet the needs of the deaf,” Scales said.

Williams’ students, and students from Lee University, are stepping up to assist the Jamaican organization.

The Lee students will be focusing on language barriers and challenges facing the Christian school students. The Cleveland students will focus on the construction of an aquaponics facility.

Scales and Williams emphasized Wednesday the partnership is not just a one-time situation, but the possibility of a long-term series of projects. The young students at Wednesday’s conference with Scales may be going to Jamaica to work with Servant’s Heart Jamaica in future years.

The organization’s founder told the students Wednesday they will not have to learn sign language to be able to work with the deaf students in Jamaica.

“Some of the students are even proud they are deaf,” he said.

Williams’ students were divided into five presentation panels, each providing Scales with a systematic design of what the aquaponics facility may look like. He critiqued each of the designs, saying some of the students’ tentative concepts were as good as those of experienced engineers.

The designs considered the shape and size of the proposed structure, filtration systems, the type of plants to be grown, and the type of fish to be produce.

Scales said most tentative designs to date have focused on tilapia as the end product. He said they considered bass and trout, but have pretty much decided on tilapia.

It was pointed out that tilapia is the second-best source of protein on earth, behind rabbits, and they’re much more hardy.

Plants being considered include kale, cabbage, lettuce, seaweed, pepper, and potatoes.

Design plans include the size of the unit, maximizing growth potential, eliminating salt water (sodium), producing useful protein and plant source, and being easy to maintain.

Other topics touched on include the power source, and the type of water (salt or fresh). Scales said another reason they have focused on tilapia thus far, because they grow three times as fast as bass and trout, and they’re the simplest to raise.

“These are the type of things end-users will be looking at,” he said.

Williams’ younger students will introduce a design concept for the senior design team. All of the aspects will be shared in video conferences between all of the partner groups.

“You must keep in mind that your customers (in Jamaica) will be different,” said Scales. He added there are other things out there the Cleveland students do not understand, such as the Jamaican weather. He added they may face a number of restraints.

During Scales’ talk, and presentations by the students, Williams put together a “frenzied” bubble chart of the multiple ideas from the crude, preliminary designs. Scales said he liked the multiple designs, and the variations.

“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box,” he said.

Williams added the key to the project is “sustainability.”

In praising the effort of the Cleveland students, the Servant’s Heart Jamaica founder pointed out his team has had a year to discuss the project.

“You’ve had much less time,” he said. “You should go ahead with your designs, even if you make some mistakes. That’s what engineers do!”

Williams and his students will be moving ahead with the design phase, and construction, with plans to travel to the Caribbean next summer and join hands with the Servant’s Heart Jamaica.

ADAM SCALES, standing, founder of Servant’s Heart Jamaica in 2011, visited Cleveland High School’s engineering students Wednesday to discuss a proposed partnership during the coming year. Yet to be approved by the Cleveland Board of Education, the students will design and construct an aquaponics facility. They will then build the facility in Jamaica to assist the Jamaica Christian Deaf School.
SEPARATE GROUPS OF Cleveland High students have designed aquaponics facilities for possible construction, and usage in Jamaica. The designs were discussed Wednesday morning with Adam Scales, the founder of Servant’s Heart Jamaica.

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