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Valley high school elects Arizona’s first sustainability student officer

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Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014

By Sierra Oshrin


COLTON KROLAK/CRONKITE NEWS: One Valley high school just elected the state’s first sustainability officer. Cronkite News reporter Sierra Oshrin visited the Phoenix Bioscience High School for a look at its eco-friendly plans.

CLARISSA SMITH/FIRST AZ HIGH SCHOOL SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER: You know your job is done when you’re no longer needed

SIERRA OSHRIN/CRONKITE NEWS: That’s what Clarissa Smith, a senior at Phoenix Bioscience High School, says about sustainability. The Bioscience High School incorporates sustainability into all aspects of education. And the projects they’re working on are pretty high tech.

SIERRA OSHRIN/CRONKITE NEWS: One of those projects includes the aquaponic system.

JORGE CANO/MEMBER OF E-TECH CLUB: In the bottom barrel you have fish, it’s tilapia. What a tilapia does is when it poops, there’s nitrogen in that poop. So you take that nitrogen and run it through a system and the water is going to be pumped up here, and the tank gets filled. When there’s enough water this lever gets pulled down and the water is released. Here you’re going to have all of your plants that are being fed by the nitrogen. And the same plants feed the fish. So it’s a sustainable system. Just with running water.

SIERRA OSHRIN/CRONKITE NEWS: The aquaponics system will eventually use the energy from another student-made project known as a solar charging station. This charging station will provide enough electricity to charge this hybrid car and motorcycle, as well as student laptops and phones during school breaks.

SIERRA OSHRIN/CRONKITE NEWS: Even though this is Clarissa’s senior year, she doesn’t plan on it being the end of her career in sustainability.

CLARISSA SMITH/FIRST AZ HIGH SCHOOL SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER: I really am passionate about this and I hope to see it in my future.

COLTON KROLAK/CRONKITE NEWS: Clarissa and other students from the Bioscience High School constructed raised garden beds for the green apple day of service. The students have had difficulties getting approval by the city but are now working with the city’s green team for help.