Skylar Ray and Dexter Vines, agricultural science teachers at Etowah High School, with the support of Principal Dr. Stephen Hall, are working to revamp the school’s agricultural department.

The vision is to create a fully-functioning outdoor classroom that combines hydroponics and aquaponics to produce quality, nutrient-rich, organic produce that can be marketed to the local community. Several local restaurants have already committed to buying from EHS.

Ray contracted with TCB Tree Service to help clear the property adjacent to the school’s greenhouses. Once the area is cleaned up, the plan is to build a pond in which various types of freshwater species will be cultured. Various vegetables and herbs will be grown through aquaponics. The plants will be grown in water and fertilized with the waste of the fish. The fish will finish their grow-out process in the pond.

Muscadine vines are to be planted in the cleared area. Hydroponic plants also will be planted inside the greenhouse, including tropical plants, vegetable plants and bedding flowers.

Ray expects the job to be finished around spring break. There will be a sale in Etowah’s greenhouse in April. Community members may contact Ray for more information about the scope of the sale.

Jessica McClain is a journalism student at Etowah High School.