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334 Harding Highway
(Penns Grove- Carneys Point)
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the project

UPDATE: We've received a $10,000 grant to cover a significant portion the costs of making this project happen from SUSTAINABLE NJ. We need your support to make sure this project happens before the next school year starts this fall. Penns Grove High School Students are excited to construct another outdoor classroom to raise and produce organic fish and vegetables to provide nutrient-dense food for themselves and to the surrounding communities.

With your financial contribution, another outdoor classroom is possible for hands-on learning in nature but this time via the science of aquaponics. 

The 42-foot geodesic dome, pictured above, can be built in as little as five days which is advertised as spacious enough to grow organic foods to feed a community of people.

The addition of a geodesic dome to accommodate an aquaponics lab will be the second outdoor classroom on the PGHS campus.  The first outdoor classroom became a reality in April 2018 where PGHS students were awarded money by Channel 6 News, Wawa, and The Environmental Science Law Center of Cherry Hill to build a 15’ X 35’ butterfly sanctuary that serves as a space to learn with nature.  Students participate in citizen scientist projects in this outdoor classroom where they tag butterflies,  monitor their health, hand-feed them and quantify morbidity rate due to parasitoids.   Instead of sitting in a class surrounded by walls made up of painted cinder blocks, PGHS students collect data to contribute to collegiate research in an outdoor classroom surrounded by a variety of butterflies and beautiful flowering plants.  

The goal is that PGHS students will raise the money for the dome by June.  Your financial contribution will not only help them to obtain the dome but purchase the heating and cooling system so food can be grown 365 days out of the year.  Once they secure the funding and the dome is built, students will be on their way to obtain the knowledge and skillset to raise organic fish and vegetables, and engage in civic action to provide nutrient-dense food to the surrounding communities.

Aquaponics combines both aquaculture and agriculture production in one unit, which allows the grower to harvest BOTH fish and vegetables ( a plant and a protein) simultaneously and can be food on someone's plate in a short time.  It is a high-class operation.  The work involved is easy because it is void of soil and thus void of back-breaking work.  However, it is highly technological and it epitomizes sustainable farming practices.  It is also extremely fun!  If the students are afforded the opportunity to build this aquaponics outdoor classroom, they will be educated on fish, plant, nutrient, and water quality management, building, engineering, and construction.  This is everything that interests the younger generation! 

Initiatives like this will be ongoing in the future because our students are on a larger mission to build an ever-growing Environmental Science Learning Center on the PGHS campus’ courtyard.  Schools are a great place to bring nature back into learning.   It bespeaks a deep desire to restore something that is missing in all our lives. Intense urbanization and industrialization have deprived students and staff of outdoor, in particular nature-based, experiences.  Nature is extremely important in all of our lives, but especially for our children and especially at a time when their world is more and more dominated by asphalt and electrons and constrained by adult fears.   


Dr. Cobian, superintendent of schools, envisions great possibilities in the future in regard to the Environmental Science Learning Center at Penns Grove High School. She states:

“It will be the first school environmental center in Salem County where institutions of higher education, as well as other K-12 districts, will be invited to utilize the facility for trips.  PGHS will be an education center for students about our environment. The vision of the Environmental Center is to be able to serve school districts and communities not only in Salem County but adjacent counties to come and use the center as an educational tool to bring awareness about the impact of climate and global changes that are affecting our world.  Our goal is to increase literacy about our environment.“ -Dr. Zenaida Cobian


We are rolling out this vision to all the Penns Grove- Carneys Point Schools and staff, leaders of the community, and residents to ask if you will get on board to help PGHS Students to raise the money to build their second outdoor classroom, which will be a 42-foot geodesic grow dome.   The average donation is $50.  However, a $25 donation will be appreciated too.  All you have to do is click the “Donate to this Project” button to help our students get on their way to sustainable farming.  Please be proud to know that your money helped to not only build a geodesic grow dome but connect students to learning in nature and the community to whole and nutritious foods.  This will be an absolutely beautiful testimony of what can be done when people come together for a worthy cause and a forever asset to education and the overall health of the community.  The pandemic also showed us how much we need to rely on our community and local support. Through this project, we would like to grow and strengthen our community support system.  







the steps

Implementation Steps

  1. Involve Professionals like Benni Hanna Aquaponics in the implementation process.   7/2021
  2. Buy Dome. 7/2021
  3. Building Begins- Activate volunteers, students and staff to tackle specified tasks. 8/2021
  4. Purchase Aquaponics System. 7/2021
  5. Connect to current curriculum. 9/2021
  6. File Paperwork- all reports written and submitted on time. 12/2021


Community Engagement Activities

  1.  Champion public input to assess community need by sending out survey to assess what organic foods should be grown.  8/2021
  2.   Report back to the community the diversity of the input to present the developed project idea. 10/2021
  3. Aquaponics Promotion at Sports Events- promotional materials will be handed out with sponsor recognition distributed.  10/2021
  4. Exchange Club Involvement ASAP
  5. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony- Community In-Person Event to see the completed aquaponics lab  9/2022

Evaluation and Reporting Steps

  1.  Google docs observation/reporting log of qualitative and quantitative data- Ongoing
  2.  Google forms survey to track progress with pictures/videos archived - Ongoing
  3. Interviews to reflect upon progress- Ongoing

Project Promotion – Events Where Promotional Materials With Sponsor Recognition Are Distributed

  1.  Social Media- Facebook, Website, Youtube   9/2021
  2. Put posters, flyers, brochures, programs around the district and sell raffle tickets to raise awareness. 9/2021


why we're doing it

We are becoming more and more detached from the source of our food. Product shortages during the pandemic highlighted, even more, our lack of control and power over our food. We are increasingly relying on food made by someone we don’t know with ingredients we don’t recognize. This food is contributing to a growing health crisis in which this generation of children stands to see a shorter lifespan than their parents. By bringing an aquaponics garden to Penns Grove High School, the students and community will be able to connect with their food and gain power over its production. Students will transform a wide variety of biodiverse seeds into nutrient-rich food they can use to show their love to their families and the community by sharing that food all year round. Students will have the opportunity to build pride and confidence as they nurture plants from seeds into delicious tomatoes, strawberries, greens, herbs, and much more. 


The problem of nutritional and health equity for our generation is not new. Stores are saturated with calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods that are leading to doctors increasingly seeing nutrient deficiency disorders and obesity-related diseases in the same patient. According to the CDC, almost half of the US population has high blood pressure, the leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is the number one killer of people in the United States. People want health for themselves and their families. A 71 billion dollar diet industry sows confusion and frustration (CNBC).  Support for urban farming has been exploding. There are more ways than ever to produce local, nutrient-dense foods all year round to increase nutritional equity for our community.



Disbursed budget 6.21.2021

The $1,358 we raised will continue to go towards a grow structure, which will partially be paid for by the grant we received from Sustainable NJ and NJEA, as well as our school. 

TOTAL RAISED = $1,400.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $42.00

Original Budget:

Our students at Penns Grove High School want to take measures to end the food desert epidemic in our urban communities.  We were endowed with a $10,000 grant by Sustainable NJ and NJEA to build an aquaponics lab.  However, we need a structure to house our equipment.  It is recommended that we get a 42' foot geodesic grow dome.  This size dome will guarantee that we have plenty of space to grow enough food to feed a community and it will allow our students to have an outdoor classroom to gain tremendous experiential learning. 

The cost of the dome is $41,950 ($30/sq ft)= 1385 sq ft

We'll need an additional $10,000 for heating and cooling system so that we can maintain temperature and our farm can thrive all year round 

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $53,039

Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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