Environmental & Agricultural Sciences Academy

Aquarium Science

In Aquarium Science, students experience aquatic animal husbandry and aquaculture in a facility modeled after a professional public aquarium laboratory. They learn to replicate environmental conditions in the lab similar to those on a coral reef by studying the effects of lighting, water quality, and nutrition on the saltwater organisms in their care. Hands-on activities in the laboratory include breeding saltwater clownfish, propagating live corals and anemones on the coral farm, breeding jellyfish, and live food culture. This program prepares students for careers in Marine Biology, Environmental Science, commercial aquaculture (fish hatcheries), public aquariums, aquarium maintenance, pet industries and most environmental fields.


Plant and Animal Science

At our Agriculture Science Academy at 201 County Line Road on the southside of Des Moines (south of Blank Park Zoo), students learn about animals and plants through hands-on activities and exciting projects. The nation’s largest secondary school student-run greenhouse and livestock facility allow them to gain practical experience in fields including agricultural business, environmental science, horticulture, landscaping, and veterinary careers. Students are enrolled as members of FFA, the national youth leadership organization, which enhances speaking and leadership skills while attending the academy.

Marine Biology


The Marine Biology program puts students face to face with hundreds of marine organisms found around the world. Students won’t just learn about the ocean from books, they also take care of over 100 “tiny oceans” during the year and personally interact with sharks, jellyfish, corals, nautiluses, and hundreds of fish in a new facility modeled after university laboratories and public aquariums. Students are also given the opportunity to conduct their own research projects, participate in science fairs, practice field work by kayaking, dissect different organisms, and more. What makes this program so unique is that it is a student-run laboratory and aquarium which gives each student the opportunity to literally get their hands wet in everything that goes on, but to also leave a legacy for other students by coming up with new ideas for aquariums and different marine organisms to have in the program.

“Taking Central Campus classes taught me appreciation for hard work and how to develop a better work ethic. I have grown as an individual. I have also learned to appreciate all of the college credit awarded for these classes.”
Melissa Garcia – Animal Science and Horticulture – East High School

Animal Science and Horticulture Instructor

Kevin Anderson


Heidi Mandt

Marine Biology Instructor

Greg Barord, Ph.D.

Aquarium Science Instructor

Kirk Embree


Kevan Wilson

Greenhouse Manager

Amy Estell