That’s a Little Fishy

Elizabeth O'hara, Staff Writer

Shells consisting of many things like horseshoe crab shells and a still open clam shell along with a puffer fish that is still puffed propped up on the shelf . | Photo by Elizabeth O’hara

In the halls of Olathe North there are these very big fish tanks that have been decorated with coral and pretty blue rocks. Those who have never been to North or who are freshmen, might find these slippery finned amphibians intriguing.

The Geoscience Academy is why we have these water-breathing beings in the first place. The academy was first introduced in 2003 and studies the ocean and its life through 3,000 gallons of saltwater aquaria.

Students who are in this academy usually study meteorology, oceanography, marine biology, paleontology, and more.

“I like doing the water testing because you put the chemicals in the fish water and then it glows bright pink and you’re like, wow super cool scientist,” sophomore Amelia O’berg said.

In the past Geoscience went to many places to study the oceans. In 2019 they went to Texas and studied the fish by the oceans, and last year geoscience was planning to go to Wyoming but COVID-19 has delayed that.

“I think they’re really cool and a way to promote the academy,” senior Lily Anderson said.

The fish are counted and checked every year. They see what’s missing and usually purchase a fish that has died around the same time. They have a new pufferfish that has a possibility to be named Bruce.

There are all kinds of fish, from starfish to sea urchins. One in particular that has caught the attention of some students were the horseshoe crabs.

“I love them. My favorite is the horseshoe crab. Me and my friends named one out of the two Stupid,” junior Lara Dunkley said.

The fish get fed mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays by who is available. It’s usually sophomores that care for them specifically. The students even come to feed them and clean cages on winter break and spring break. It usually lasts a couple hours twice a week. Some students enjoy cleaning tanks while others find it gross and difficult.

“Nobody likes cleaning the bow tank because it’s curved and it sucks,” O’Berg said.

What about when a fish gets sick? They will remove the fish from the tank and then quarantine it. It’s also important to remember where the fish goes when it has healed because certain fish can only live in certain tanks.

“We are able to have a living reference to where we’re studying about,”Geoscience teacher Marsha Skoczek said.

They are great for lesson planning and hands-on learning. Even though Olathe North is in the middle of Kansas, this class is able to have all these resources. Olathe North is the only school who teaches this and are very lucky to be able to teach such cool things.

‘I enjoy having the fish. It also helps with my biology class,” Skoczek said.