Mrs. Jara’s 5th grade class at Natchaug Elementary School is harvesting rotifers! 

 Natchaug elementary school reef program Reef Nutrition rotifer culturing system

We are pleased to support the 5th graders Reef Project program at Natchaug Elementary School. In January, we sent our Rotifer compact culture system to the school to get the students one step closer to their goal of breeding clownfish.

The reef project is sustained by donations and managed by paraprofessional educator, Charles Grillo. They currently have 75 and 10 gallon reef tanks as well as a 16 gallon Biocube frag tank in their 5th grade classrooms, with a 40 gallon going up in their 3rd grade classrooms. 

After Mr. Grillo successfully cultured rotifers for a week, the project was handed over to Mrs. Jara’s 5th grade class students. These 5th graders are eager and fearless. Reef Nutrition sent links to “How to” video which helped the students learn how to set up the system.

Natchaug Elementary School preparing to culture rotifers Natchaug Elementary School preparing to culture rotifers

After a couple of successful harvests, the culture crashed! Mr. Grillo encouraged the students not to give up.

"We not only post successes with our reef tanks since that would not truly show what our students are learning. In Mrs. Jara’s 5th grade class, we posted how the kiddos were beginning to harvest rotifers, the first essential food for clownfish fry. Well after successfully harvesting for weeks, the students experienced their first “crash”. Yes all our rotifers perished. We researched how this is not uncommon but still are upset that it happened. So, what to do. Well, we try again, and if need be again and again until we get it right. We need these rotifers if we want to try and breed clownfish so we will keep at it. This is a learning moment in loss and determination. Our students will get there, this I have no doubt. It’s not just about a reef tank."

A few weeks later the students were back to culturing Rotifers again. We look forward to hearing more of their success. You can follow the program update on their Facebook page. If you have a school in your neighborhood with a marine sciences program, reach out to them and offer your help, equipment that you don't need and supplies they could use. The reward in helping children cultivate an appreciation for our oceans and animals is priceless.

Natchaug elementary school reef project


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