Aquaponics - Feeding the Fish

What is Aquaponics? Just ask a Davidson Student. And read on for more information…

As part of the autism services for kids that Elwyn’s Davidson School provides, transition services play a big part in preparing students for life after school in their communities. Eight of these community-based transition experiences (CBTEs) are school-based, while forty others are community based. One of the school-based CBTEs utilizes a hands-on education about aquaponics.

Fish and plants together? How?

Aquaponics ProgramAquaponics is a method of growing fish and plants together in one system. The name comes from combining aquaculture, the raising of fish, with hydroponics, which is the growing of plants without soil. The system is uniquely efficient because the microbes convert fish waste to be used as fertilizer for the plants and the plants filter the water for the fish.

  • Aquaponics eliminates the drawbacks of traditional vegetable and fish farming. For example:
  • No pesticides need to be used, so the food is cleaner, safer and no toxic runoff is produced.
  • Water requirements are one tenth of traditional farming needs.
  • The system is clean and recycles itself, with no need for replacement except when water runs low.
  • Space is maximized as the vegetables and fish are grown in the same area.

Aquaponics ProgramSeveral types of aquaponic systems are available, such as raft based, media-based, nutrient film technique (NFT) and vertical.

Elwyn’s Aquaponics Program

Elwyn’s Program uses media based aquaponics, growing plants in inert media that does both the conversion of the waste and the removal of solid wastes. Students aged 14-21 are able to take part in every part of the process: planting the vegetables, feeding the fish, and harvesting the products. They also sell the product at a weekly farm stand. On Fridays at the Davidson School, the students learn how to prepare healthy and tasty meals or snacks with the fresh produce.

Aquaponics ProgramThe knowledge and experience these students acquire gives them a confidence in their abilities as well as skills that they can use in a work environment. The students also get to work outside in the sun and know the pride of being a part of making things grow. These benefits are part of our mission at Elwyn, which is: To assist each individual in developing the skills needed to transition successfully from school to adulthood through participation in a variety of school and community-based work experiences, while keeping interests, preferences, and strengths in mind.

Aquaponics ProgramAquaponics Program

Elwyn Offers Educational and Enriching Autism Services for Kids at the Davidson School

Aquaponics ProgramStudents at Elwyn’s Davidson School are offered many opportunities. For over 150 years Elwyn has provided care and customized autism services to individuals. In Media, Pennsylvania, the farming program is a highlight for our older students. Our dedicated staff is committed to fostering self-determination and independence in each individual, and our transition program helps empower all of the students to advocate for themselves and become contributing members of their communities. For more information about our programs, please reach out today: Carol Lauser, 610.891.7377, or Ethan Brazell, 610.891.2128,

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