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Hydroponics for Elephants

The Zenith Program is collaborating with Hope Elephants - a unique rehabilitation and educational facility for retired circus elephants in Hope, Maine (www.hopeelephants.org) - to create their educational programming for elementary school children in the district to learn about these incredibly valuable creatures who are now being cared for right in our back yard!
Yes, elephants sure can live in Maine! The students will be creating interactive lessons and activities for children to learn about elephant anatomy, evolutionary adaptations, unique social structures, with a focus on the elephants' diet and nutritional needs. The Zenith students have taken a special interest and concern in the dietary needs of the 2 aging and insured elephants housed at the facility - Rosie (42 years old) and Opal (43 years old).
The students have researched alternative ways of growing and providing high-quality vegetation to supplement the elephants' diet of Timothy-Grass hay.
The students wondered if there was a way to grow fresh, nutrient-rich plants for elephants all year long right here on school property. There is! If we had the financial means, we could build a 16 x 32 foot greenhouse that would house a hydroponic system to grow fresh, green, nutrient-rich plants to supplement the diet of the aging elephants at the Hope Elephants Rehab facility. The hydroponic system would utilize a student-built drip system to administer the nutrient solution to flats of young, succulent plants. There could be a student-designed system of growing an on-going supply of fresh vegetation for the elephants.
Once a week, the students would drive the 10 minutes to the Elephant facility to feed the elephants the greens. Awesome! High school students could also connect with elementary students during each phase of the project, which would provide the means for meaningful and memorable relationships between students of different age groups.

Funded by Boston, MA (October 2012)