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Wagner geodome, aquaponics to be featured on TV show

Wagner students learn about equipment used to produce a television show earlier this year at the South Dakota Public Broadcasting studio in Sioux Falls. (Submitted photo)

WAGNER — Two years after implementing an outdoor learning program, the Wagner School District will be featured on a state TV show.

In 2015, the Wagner district built a 42-foot long geodome and started an aquaponics program for use in the school's science departments. Since then, students have created a community garden, installed a drainage system and completed various unique projects, prompting South Dakota Public Broadcasting to reach out to high school science teacher and geodome coordinator Carrie Tucek, who spearheaded the project.

The geodome and aquaponics program will be featured in February on a SDPB cooking show called Savor SD.

"While the district's greenhouse and aquaponics program continues to evolve and grow, the news of this experience elevated this rural South Dakota community into excitement about the program," Tucek said.

The first segment of the show was filmed in the winter and features the geodome, where fresh fruits and vegetables are grown. The geodome also houses a 3,100-gallon tilapia tank. The second segment features the school garden, while the third involved middle school horticulture teacher Hilary Tjeerdsma, who took her students to the Savor SD studio in Sioux Falls to learn about the equipment and process of creating a film. Students also cooked with a local chef.

Students in pre-k through 12th grade, along with several staff members — including Superintendent Linda Foos, Middle School Principal Steve Petry, Tucek and others — will be featured in the show, set to air at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1.

"The entire experience demonstrates the dreams that can come true when a community and school district get behind a small idea that a few middle school students embraced with one aquaponics system," Tucek said. "Our students are excited for people to see how great our school is and how much work they have done to create such a great program."