Craig Frederick, Ag Educator at Seward High School, and sophomores Ryley Hain and Crayton Koranda presented on aquaponics and popular house plants to Seward Rotary Club
Craig Frederick, lead Ag educator and FFA Sponsor at Seward High School, presented the featured program at the Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021 at the noon luncheon meeting of the Seward Rotary Club at the Seward Civic Center.  He was assisted by SHS Sophomores, Ryley Hain and Crayton Koranda, who are involved with many of the Ag classes at Seward High.  The program was introduced by Rotarian and Seward High Vice Principal Jill Johnson. 
Frederick began the program with a feature on house plants that the SHS students grow in the high school green house.  He cover plants, including Aloe, Cast Iron Plants, Chinese evergreen, Dumb Cane, Jade Plants, Lucky Bamboo, Mother-In-Law Tongue aka Snake Plant, Peace Lily, Pothos, Prayer Plant and Spider Plants- and he spoke on the advantages and disadvantages of each plant.  He also commented on the top reasons people fail with plants, with the number one reason being over watering!
He presented SHS Sophomores, Ryley Hain and Crayton Koranda representing his current Ag Class. They presented a demonstration presentation on Aero-phonics Agriculture and Aqua-phonics Agriculture. Ryley stated that   “Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. ... It is sometimes considered a type of hydroponics, since water is used in aeroponics to transmit nutrients.”
He demonstrated a tub of water with nitrates and a pump action that allows the plants to grow on the top of the tub and gives the roots the nourishment needed.  He noted that aero-phonics was very popular with the NASA Space Program, as the astronauts could then grow their own fresh food.  Crayton pointed out that he converted a 15 gal tank with freshwater fish to assist in fertilizing the water to feed his plants, placed on top of the tank.
The students spoke on the many advantages of Aqua-phonic Ag, stating, for example, there is no fertilizer run off and that they enjoy 90% less water than traditional farming operations. The program does not worry about the weather and it allows farming year round. They noted that both programs are popular in Africa, where good soil is limited.  They also commented on a variety of aqua systems and the benefits of those programs, as well as some of the disadvantages.  The students used their Aqua-phonics program for their entry in the recent District FFA Leadership Program-Demonstration Event-representing the SHS FFA Chapter. 
Frederick commented on the school’s use of the Ag Classes with the SHS Greenhouse and the anticipated new classroom for next year in the Greenhouse addition.  Currently the greenhouse has a garden plant program and sale each year, the students grow and sell Christmas Poinsettia’s and this year have Easter Lilies started to also have for sale in the spring.  Plus, there are a host of individual projects happening in the SHS Green house as well.  He offers two dual credit classes with his Ag Program- an Intro Class and a Crop and Food Science Class.   
Questions and answers followed the program and Mr. Frederick and the students hand out complimentary green house plants to all the members of Rotary from the SHS Green House team.  The program concluded with a short tribute to Frederick by Jill Johnson, commenting on the outstanding education program that he has offered to the Seward youth over his tenure at Seward High. “Craig Frederick is a Master Teacher,” stated Johnson, “He often presents the material and various scenarios and then challenges and allows the students to discover ways to achieve success when presented a task to complete. He will be missed next year and we want to take this opportunity to thank and salute him for a job well done!”  She also spoke on the outstanding SHS Greenhouse program and commented on the expansion plans for the program in the future.