San Juan, Puerto Rico – For over a century, Robinson School has been on the cutting edge of education in Puerto Rico. During its 118 years, Robinson has spearheaded many educational breakthroughs while always emphasizing academic excellence, character building, positive values and social responsibility. The school is also committed to providing students with the educational opportunities that allow them to understand the importance of living a sustainable life while preserving the environment. Robinson School wants to ensure its students are connected to a more sustainable way of living and understand the importance of protecting our existing resources for generations to come.
The school’s latest project, The Robinson School Edible Garden and Aquaponics Lab actively reflects the school’s forward learning tradition. The garden and lab will be an outdoor space that will allow for ample opportunities to integrate the principles of sustainability in math, science, art, health, social studies, STEM, marketing and economics. The curriculum will be based on sustainability’s main pillars: economic, environmental and social and will teach the importance of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Having an edible garden as an educational tool provides many hands-on learning opportunities that complement lessons about plant and insect life cycles along with experiential activities. The students will be able to harvest fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be consumed by school families and staff. Head of School Cindy Ogg stated that, “We want our students to understand where their food comes from by providing them the opportunity to participate in the seed-to-table process. This will also provide them a chance to improve their nutritional habits and use the school’s test kitchen to develop recipes based on harvested produce. Growing plants fosters innovation and critical skills. A garden allows for the study of life and provides a foundation for understanding the principles of birth, growth, maturity, death, competition, cooperation and many other lessons that transfer to human life.”
The lab will feature an aquaponic system which is a sustainable method of farming being used to address food shortages around the world while conserving clean water. Aquaponics is a completely natural process that mimics all lakes, ponds, rivers and waterways on earth, while using 90% less water than traditional farming.
Water and nutrients are recycled in a closed-loop fashion and can grow a tremendous amount of food with a fraction of the water normally used in soil-based agriculture. “Having an aquaponics lab at the school will give our students the opportunity to understand how food can be grown directly in their houses and communities, providing access to nutritious food. It will allow them to also consider careers in sustainable agriculture and understand the importance of eliminating the huge carbon footprint associated with food transportation”, pointed Ms. Ogg.
Ms. Ogg continued to affirm that “The sustainable education program will teach Robinson students different ways to produce food and make it available on the market, thereby teaching them alternate ways to develop the economy, health, employability and autonomy.”
Since 1902, Robinson School has developed broad thinking, well-rounded individuals whose values reflect social responsibility, service, dignity and respect for all. Robinson is committed to continue educating beyond traditional academic environments and provide students with the tools to create a better world through empathy, respect and intercultural understanding.