Friday, July 6, 2012

Report of International Internship

Report of international internship
Workshop on 
“Aquaponics – Water Conserving Agriculture”
The completed Mural inside the
Wet Lab of the Aquaculture Department
The Internship on “Empowerment on Aquaponics” was offered to the students of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA at the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of St.Albert’s College, Ernakulam. The students were accompanied by the Director of International Studies Maj H. Fishcher, two representatives of Sweet Water Foundation, Milwaukee,USA, Chaya Nayak and Jason AXT and one representative of Mahattil International llC, educators and consultants having offices in Milwaukee and India responsible for the Welfare and Logistics of the team in India. The Manager Rev. Dr. Clement Valluvassery, Principal Prof. Harry Cleetus and Vice principal Dr. Cyriac Mathew provided adequate resources and moral support for the smooth conduct of the internship programme. Dr. Ajith Thomas John, Associate Professor in Aquaculture was the Coordinator of the internship at St. Albert’s College. 
Internship team members near the completed system
Aquaponics is an integration of aquaculture and hytdroponics. The internship involved the wisconsin team setting up of a functional aquaponics system in the wet lab & hatchery complex of the aquaculture department. The month long internship of eight students from the university of wisconsin ended on june 30th on a successful note. To assist the team from the us in its activities an aquaponics club was formed in april 2012 represented by students of the degree programmes in aquaculture and industrial fish and fisheries and the pg programme in applied fisheries and aquaculture. The club members met several times under the leadership of the coordinator and planned and worked very hard to prepare the wet lab for the team visit. 
The plants being planted in the grow beds

A mural being drawn by the Wisconsin Team Members
and the Aquaponics Club Members
Extensive planning and execution was involved in the realization of the internship. At the beginning of the internship a one day workshop was organized on “Wisconsin – Kerala Aquaponics Connection”. In this workshop the concept was explained to the hosts by the representatives of Sweet Water Foundation, Ms. Chaya Nayak and Mr. Jason AXT. The plan of activity for the month was conveyed by Mr. Shajan M. John of Mahattil international llC, the coordinator of the team. The students from wisconsin introduced themselves and explained how each one will contribute to the internship activity. During the internship the students (Travis Blomberg, Kimberly Hunt Mayer, Kelly Schweich, Douglas Johnson, Rita Argus, Sowmya Adibhatla, Lauren Stinson and Wally Graeber) from the University of Wisconsin worked along side the Aquaponics Club members from St. Albert’s College to set up the system. Two groups were formed integrating the club members and the team. The enterprise group was responsible for formulating the questionnaire and conducting surveys among the students, the public, educational institutions, self help groups, fish farmers etc. This group also planned towards organizing the workshop. The design group was mainly responsible for designing the system to suite the measurements in the wet lab, sourcing the materials, budgeting, fabricating the components, integrating the components, installing the system and planning towards monitoring the functioning of the system.
The Internship Team Members by the
side of the Aquaponics System
The main components of the system installed include the fish tank, the filter unit, deep water unit, grow bed unit, siphoning systems and sump tank. In the fish tank our state fish pearl spot(karimeen) has been introduced. The plants planted in the deep water unit include long beans and brahmi while in the grow bed brinjal, long beans and tomato has been planted. Every alternate day the water parameters like nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, ph and dissolved oxygen are monitored to ensure efficiency of functioning of the system.

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