CCAR/4-H At-Home Aquaponics Project

Hancock County 4-H and the UMaine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) are launching a 4-H At-Home Aquaponics Project, an experiential learning program for youth ages 9-18 delivered virtually beginning in Summer 2020. The program will include learning experiences in introductory aquaponic systems and design, fish husbandry, aquaponic gardening, cooking and nutrition, and more. Youth will practice important life skills such as recordkeeping, problem-solving, food safety, collaboration/teamwork, science and math literacy, and more!Extension/4-H and CCAR Logo combined

Prior experience with aquaponics is not required to participate. The program leaders will mentor youth through the stages of designing and building an aquaponics system through maintenance and harvest. Youth complete their project independently at home (with adult supervision), but they are also members of a state-wide group of youth who are participating in the project together. The group will meet regularly via Zoom from July – October 2020 (schedule is below). Youth do not have to be currently enrolled in 4-H, but will enroll when beginning this project. The project is open to youth from any county in Maine.

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a type of farming that combines raising fish in tanks (aquaculture) and growing plants without soil (hydroponics). In an aquaponics system, the plants use nutrient-rich water from the fish tank while purifying the water for the fish. Aquaponic farming can be done year-round, indoors, and in any climate. It is a fun and different way to grow your own food that is safe, easy, and fresh!


Participant Responsibilities and Expectations

  • Come with an open mind to experiential learning in a virtual setting
  • Be respectful and participate fully in the program
  • Adult supervision at home is expected for all project-related activities
  • Obtain the necessary equipment and supplies (materials/parts lists will be provided and small grants may be available)
  • Adapt, secure, or construct an appropriate aquaponics system to house fish and plants
  • Perform tasks necessary to care for living plants and animals (husbandry, gardening, water quality testing, systems check, etc)
  • Keep records as directed by program leaders
  • Report and present on the outcome of the project
  • Take on a leadership role in an area of your interest
  • Abide by all UMaine and State/Federal safety guidelines (this may include some restrictions due to COVID-19)
  • This project will require a small financial investment and time commitment from parents/guardians for their child to begin this project.

UMaine Extension and UMaine CCAR will provide aquaponics project-related information to all participants; provide educational experiences related to the project such as webinars, hands-on activities, virtual tours, etc.; arrange for the purchasing of materials from reliable sources; check-in with participants on a regular basis; and respond quickly to questions and issues related to the project.


  • Wednesday, July 8 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Introduction to the 4-H At-Home Aquaponics Project
  • Wednesday, July 15 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Designing and Building Aquaponics Systems
  • Wednesday, July 22 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Fish Husbandry and Aquaponic Gardening
  • Wednesday, August 5 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Aquaponics Food Systems and Virtual Tours
  • Wednesday, August 19 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Harvesting and Cooking
  • Week of September 14  | exact date and time TBD based on participant schedules | Service Projects
  • Week of October 5  | exact date and time TBD based on participant schedules | Project Records and Presentations

*exact schedule is subject to change and based on progress through each topic.

Click here to apply using the form on the Hancock County 4-H page.

Apply by June 29, 2020; space is limited to 10 participants, ages 9-18 from any county in Maine. Please contact us with any questions.

If there are any barriers that would prevent you from participating in this program, please contact Carla Scocchi, 4-H Professional,, to discuss your needs. We are committed to making 4-H programs accessible to all youth.

The University of Maine is an EEO/AA employer and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies:  Director of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5754, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).