“Blue Stream Farms is on a mission to nurture and inspire the development of the mind, body, and environment for our community of sustainability-conscious youth.”
Facilitate ecosystem sustainability:
By inspiring our community to
become stewards of the environment
Support healthy lifestyles:
By providing locally grown produce
and community based learning
Build Educational System:
By developing an integrated
Project Based Learning Platform
We built an educational platform to teach students to use their imaginations, hands and hearts.
Project based learning goes beyond generating student interest. Students’ abilities to acquire new understanding are enhanced when they are connected to meaningful problem solving activities and when students are helped to understand why, when and how those facts and skills are relevant. Aquaponics is a method of food production which combines the best aspects of aquaculture and hydroponics to create a highly productive living ecosystem for sustainable agriculture. Blue Stream Farms seeks to bring aquaponics to our local schools as a project based learning platform and develop integrated Science, Technology, Writing, Engineering, Arts and Math courses that will allow students to learn the concepts in the classroom and apply them to operate a commercially viable business.
Our aquaponics platform will improve three challenges that our area faces today; education, health and environment. First, project based learning will motivate our students and prepare them for college, careers and citizenship. It will also provide schools and districts with new ways to communicate and to connect with parents, communities and the wider world. Second, we want to change life-long eating habits by providing nutrition awareness campaigns, recipes and community events focused around food and making better food choices. When you have access to healthy, fresh foods, you see a decrease in the cancer rates, obesity rates and diabetes rates. Third, we want our students to become stewards of the environment. Threatened by problems related to water shortages, topsoil loss, reliance on fossil fuel inputs and a changing climate, the productivity and reliability of our food systems and ecosystems are at stake. Alternatives are needed which are more efficient in use of resources, sustainable, resilient, and better mesh with our communities. Aquaponics is an agricultural technique poised to meet our current and future needs for locally raised, healthy and sustainable produce.
Our Aquaponic education program is designed to break from the conventional classroom and immerse students in a world of experimental learning. Imagine students being asked to put down their textbook and immerse themselves in the wonders of hands-on science. Aquaponics is an excellent means of learning and demonstrating many principles in science including Biology, Chemistry, Ecology and Physics
Students love technology, and it is a powerful learning tool that teachers can harness to make learning meaningful, relevant, and rigorous. And when technology is integrated into Project-Based-Learning, learning can go deeper. When students engage in deeper learning, they achieve academically and develop deeper learning knowledge, skills and beliefs, including: critical thinking and problem-solving, collaboration, communication, self-directed learning, and an academic mindset. Our partnership with CREATE Lab Satellite Network will bring the latest technology to the classroom.
Project-Based-Learning writing allows total student choice of topic, involve students in creating the rubrics upon which they score their peers and themselves, and require students to blend genres rather than segregate them into different assignments. It requires use of the entire writing process from brainstorm through revision, editing and final draft. It is also an organic way to integrate math, science and language arts.
Project-Based-Learning is an instructional method in which students learn a range of skills and subject matter in the process of creating their own projects. Sometimes, these projects are solutions to a real-world problem. But what is most important in Project-Based-Learning is that students learn in the process of making something. They work in groups and bring their own experiences, abilities, learning styles and perspectives to the project.
Arts education is closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement and equitable opportunity. Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking and verbal skill. It can also improve motivation, concentration confidence and teamwork
For so many students, it’s difficult to make a real-life connection between math and their everyday lives. By adopting a Project-Based-Learning approach, students learn that Geometry, for example is not only theoretical, but practical and necessary. Students will move beyond a basic understanding of concepts to an enjoyment of discovery. Additionally, finance and accounting will be used to expose students to math applications and to evaluate business performance.
The Blue Stream Farms platform will improve three challenges that our area faces today; education, health and environment. First, project based learning will motivate our students and prepare them for college, careers and citizenship. It will also provide schools and districts with new ways to communicate and to connect with parents, communities and the wider world. Second, we want to change life-long eating habits by providing nutrition awareness campaigns, recipes and community events focused around food and making better food choices. When you have access to healthy, fresh foods, you see a decrease in the cancer rates, obesity rates and diabetes rates. Third, we want our students to become stewards of the environment. Threatened by problems related to water shortages, topsoil loss, reliance on fossil fuel inputs and a changing climate, the productivity and reliability of our food systems and ecosystems are at stake. Alternatives are needed which are more efficient in use of resources, sustainable, resilient, and better mesh with our communities. Aquaponics is an agricultural technique poised to meet our current and future needs for locally raised, healthy and sustainable produce.
Helps students develop skills for living in a knowledge-based, highly technological society
- Planning, critical thinking, reasoning and creativity
- Strong communication skills, both for interpersonal and presentation needs
- Knowing how and when to use technology and choosing the most appropriate tool for the task
Brings a new relevance to the learning at hand
Lends itself to authentic assessment
- Allows students to demonstrate their capabilities while working independently
- Develops the student’s ability to work with their peers, building teamwork and group skills
- Allows the teacher to learn more about the child as a person
- Helps the teacher communicate in progressive and meaningful ways with the student or group of students on a range of issues
Promotes lifelong learning and accommodates students with varying learning styles and differences
- Use of technology enable students, teachers, and administrators to reach out beyond the school building.
- Students become engaged builders of a new knowledge base and become active, lifelong learners.
- Students take control of their learning, the first step as lifelong learners.
Counties where the Blue Stream Farms platform are available
Blue Stream Farms Board
David A. Velegol, Jr
Regional Engineering Manager for McKim & Creed, Inc and currently is the mayor of the City of Follansbee.
Reverend Dennis R. Schuelkens, Jr.
Pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary Parish and St. Joseph the Worker Parish and Grade School. Father Schuelkens served as an electronic technician in the Navy for six years, and participated in operation Desert Shield and operation Desert Storm. Father Dennis graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1999 with a BSN (Summa Cum Laude). Additionally, he is the Director of Seminarians, Director of Vocations and the Chaplain to the Boy Scouts.
Dr. Sam Licata
David L Robertson
Blue Stream Farms Officers
Daniel B. Spickard, CLTC
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Senior Associate of Lifetime Financial Growth. Dan also teaches a personal finance class for the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and is the former President of the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights.
Joseph R. Edmiston
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Joe is a Financial Representative at Lifetime Financial Growth located in Pittsburgh, PA and has an extensive background in non-profit leadership and development. Throughout his career he has held Executive Leadership positions with organizations in the Ohio Valley Region. Joe is married to his wife, Kim, of 10 years and has 2 daughters, Emily (7) and Ally (5). Outside of work, Joe enjoys college football and spending time with his family.
Blue Stream Farms Advisors
Educational Network Coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University and is working with Blue Stream Farms to develop an Aquaponic Virtual Reality that will help students understand the science involved with aquaponics as they explore the system for the fish tanks to the growing beds.
Brandon A. Gillespie, CPA
Certified Public Accountant at D’Anniballe & Company. Brandon has an undergraduate degree from The University of Tennessee at Martin and is currently working on his Masters of Business Administration at Robert Morris University.
President & CEO at Mobilize 360. Jake is currently working with students to develop a website and mobile app. The students are collaborating on design and features of both and learning not only how to develop the app and website but also how to make it effective.