Des Moines Aquarium Science Class Receives Aquaculture Donation

by | Jun 6, 2017 | Science | 4 comments

From left to right: Students Ashley Weddel, Samantha Veigulis, Ashton Kate Veal, and Megan Fleming. All very excited for the new animals!

The Long Island Aquarium, in association with Reefgen and Fluid Dynamics International, sent two boxes of aquacultured goods to the Des Moines Central Campus Aquarium Science Class last week. Some information on Central Campus’ class: This high school program teaches students how to care for all types of aquatic creatures. They learn things like how to grow coral, culture rotifers, breed shrimp, and rear clownfish. This school in land-locked Iowa is a place where these students can learn how to plumb systems, test water quality, and perform regular aquarist duties. I personally attended this class for both my junior and senior years of high school. This class and its teacher Kirk Embree are the reason I am in this field today. They have produced several professional aquarists and I am sure we will see dozen more to come.

Student Megan Fleming with one of the classes new Lightning Maroons.

The class received the shipment on Wednesday morning. Kirk wanted the package to arrive before the school year ended so everyone in the class would gain experience in unpacking a fish shipment. He gives a whole lecture on the Do’s and Don’ts of shipping fish. Apparently the students had some critiques for my packing skills. However, it sounds like I at least got a passing grade.

Student Raquela Baltazar adding the new additions to a tank.

The first box contained some coral gems from our 20,000-gallon reef tank and some rarities from Reefgen. Some beautiful Acropora frags along with some other varieties coral. The second box contained several pairs of Lightning Maroon Clownfish, Neon Gobies, and Bangaii Cardinalfish that were all aquacultured at the aquarium. The students were very excited to receive the animals and are looking forward to working with them. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to have attended this class and am still able to be involved in its progression. If you would like to know more about the program or make a donation, you can email Kirk at: [email protected]

  • Noel Heinsohn

    Noel started his passion for marine life back in high-school: as far away from the ocean as possible...Iowa. Thanks to an Aquarium Science high-school program he attended for several years at Central Campus. While attending high school, he worked at the local zoo as their aquarist and a local fish store. After high school, Noel attended Oregon Coast Community College for their aquarium science program to advance his knowledge. While in college he worked for Hatfield Marine Science center as an aquarist and interned for NOAA working with cold water aquaculture. For the last five years, he has been serving time at the Long Island Aquarium as their aquaculture aquarist. During this time he has raised 20+ species of fish and invertebrates, including the first captive-bred anthias and the first Genicanthus lamarcks.


  1. David Bowers

    Great news. Looks like some jappy students

  2. Terri Landt

    Yay! Thanks Noel for publishing this! Kirk, Central Campus and the students are great! I cannot speak highly enough on what Kirk has done for this class and area! His passion and knowledge is so addictive! Iowa may be land-locked but our passion for marine life in all areas, conservation, legislation, etc is steadfast! If you have a passion for marine life and students, please send donations to Kirk Embree/Central Campus! Congratulations Kirk, students and Central Campus!!

    Terri in Iowa
    @ TNT Corals


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