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The Hall High School Coral Project Documentary

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Published on Jan 26, 2017

This is a documentary created by Daniel Padberg-Bartoo, a student at High Hall School that shows the Hall High School Coral Project in West Hartford, CT. It explains the benefits of having a coral reef aquarium in the classroom for educational purposes.

Coral reefs across the world are dying due to climate change, ocean acidification, and the legal and illegal collection of corals for the aquarium trade. Although harvesting or poaching coral has the smallest impact as compared to climate change and ocean acidification, it is the problem that can most easily be mitigated. Many people around the world don’t actually know what corals are, what they look like, what their purpose is, and how truly important they are to Earth’s ecosystems.

The purpose of the Hall High School Coral Project is to bring animals like corals and reef fish into the hands of West Hartford students while minimizing the amount of corals being pulled from the ocean. Corals will be obtained from aquarium hobbyist donors, and aquacultured livestock is purchased from local fish stores. In addition, students grow and frag and give corals to local hobbyists and stores in order to limit their amount of corals being pulled from the ocean. Corals will be grown in aquariums at the school over time, “fragged” (cut into pieces), and distributed to stores and hobbyists across the state, thus further limiting the number of corals pulled from the ocean. This teaches Hall High School students a deep understanding of the work involved in order to preserve ecosystems while bringing awareness of what corals look like and how they behave. The interactions of students between the corals and fish as well as the livestreamed YouTube Channel of the aquarium exposes countless people to the wonderful yet fragile ecosystem that seem so far away to us.

In class, students learn that aquariums are more than “Can we put a shark in there?” Students learn the purpose and how each piece of technology and equipment in the system works. Students write journals that explain how water moves through the system and is heated, cleaned and maintained. Students are learning about appropriate fish to put in aquariums based their hardiness, behavior and care requirements. Students learn about the chemistry of aquariums by testing nitrates, phosphates, calcium and alkalinity. Students have even raised money for the fish and corals through fundraisers.

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