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Aquaculture School Teaches Chilean Educators

CHILE - With a coastline stretching 6,435 kilometers, it would seem Chilean educators could probably teach the staff at the Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School a thing or two about the sea, according to the ConnPost.

But seven educators from the South American republic came away this week with three-inch binders stuffed with lesson ideas from the local school, and the image of Carla Ebmeyer's students using candy and balloons to visualize what happens to molecular energy levels during photosynthesis.

"Sometimes you have to see it to learn it," Ebmeyer said as Alejandro Buschmann and his colleagues sat in the back of her biology class taking notes at one point during their weeklong visit.

Buschmann, director of the I-Mar Center at the University of Los Lagos in Puerto Montt, Chile, has previously visited the Aquaculture School. He returned to the school with colleagues — two from the college level, and four high school and middle school instructors — to give them guidance for developing Chile's aquaculture instruction.

Chile is the world's second largest producer of salmon, after Norway, and the top supplier of salmon to the United States.

In Chile, aquaculture schools provide the educational background for workers with technical skills, but not a lot of scientists, researchers or professors. That will change if the level of science instruction is strengthened, said Buschmann.

For some time, he has collaborated with Charles Yarish, a professor of marine science at the University of Connecticut's Stamford branch. Yarish urged Buschmann to visit the local Aquaculture School.

Buschmann decided to pay a visit, using a grant from the National Science Agency of Chile. The group arrived Monday and is scheduled to stay through today. In addition to visiting the school, the Chileans saw the Sound School in New Haven, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in Milford, the Norwalk Maritime Center, UConn's Avery Point campus and Mystic Seaport.

Teachers who made the trip will train colleagues in methods they learned.

View the ConnPost story by clicking here.