Independent research project furthers efforts towards sustainability at Liberty


Claire Good, News Editor

Independent Research students Anne Wu and Jin Chen are in the process of building an aquaponic system—a more sustainable way to grow plants and, in turn, benefit other organisms in an ecosystem. An aquaponic system employs a nitrogen cycle that helps plants release nutrients for fish, and in turn, those fish produce waste that helps sustain the plants. Within this eco-friendly cycle, all organisms can stay alive without the traditional farm-style methods of growing plants using soil and man-made fertilizers.

The science-oriented pair became interested in aquaponics after learning about biomarkers, which are indicators within certain organisms that can show whether there is harmful material in an ecosystem. If Wu and Chen have time towards the end of their aquaponics constructing, they want to test their system using organisms with biomarkers.

“In the independent study class, you don’t have a teacher giving you instructions or deadlines,” Chen said. “You have to figure out what you’re going to study, and then you have to keep track of your own time.”

Wu and Chen are currently in the process of conducting research, buying materials and preparing to build the system in physics teacher Eleanor Schneider’s classroom. They hope that their project will help bring Liberty recognition and benefit students that are interested in biology or environmental science.