Aquariums bring new
life to Almont schools
Four County grant assists PTA with
the conversion of former vivariums
|Wyatt and Tyler Parkhurst get a closeup view of the new African Cichlids swimming in the renovated aquarium at Almont Elementary School. photo by Photo by Tom Wearing.|
May 02, 2007ALMONT — The formerly empty vivariums at Orchard Primary and Almont Elementary schools are again showing signs of life. This time with creatures of the finned variety.
The two 150-gallon tanks were purchased several years ago with grant money awarded by the Four County Community Foundation.
The grants had been written by former elementary school 6th-grade science teacher Janet Keena who has since retired.
Initially, the vivariums contained lizards, frogs and snakes for the viewing and amusement of passing students and visitors.
In recent years, the vivariums were unused, raising the interest of Almont PTA chairperson Pamela Parkhurst and others in the organization.
"I had noticed that the tanks were empty and dirty and were not being cared for," said Parkhurst.
Last December, Parkhurst and the PTA applied to the Four County Community Foundation for yet another grant. This time for the purpose of renovating the tanks and transforming them into aquariums.
|"We also received a lot of support from the principals and staffs at both schools."
"The PTA has had money budgeted each year to care for the vivariums," said Parkhurst. "We decided to try to do something with them rather than have them sit empty."
With the recent receipt of another Four County grant of $1,000, the PTA began seeking quotes to clean, convert and supply the two tanks with fish and related items.
Parkhurst said Jeannie and Les Miller, owners of Fishy Business & More in downtown Almont, were able to upgrade and stock both tanks for $998.
"They (the Millers) were happy to be a part of this school project," said Parkhurst. "We also received a lot of support from the principals and staffs at both schools."
For the time being, Parkhurst and her two sons, Wyatt, 9, and Tyler, 10, have been collaborating to feed the fish and care for the aquarium at Almont Elementary. At Orchard Primary, physical education teacher Jennifer Bassols has assumed the same duties.
Parkhurst hopes students at both schools will eventually take the responsibility for caring for the fish and tanks. It's also uncertain who will take over the duties during the summer months.
"We still have to work out some kinks," said Parkhurst.
Otherwise, things are going along swimmingly.