Q&A With Our Founder

Hello Everyone,

In case you weren’t aware, the Bioma Project is growing rapidly, from being featured in multiple newspapers to potentially making professional partnerships. In light of this, our founder Bill Tong answered some common questions you may have, especially if you just heard about this initiative.

How and when did you start the Bioma Project?

I started the Bioma Project in 2015 at Clarksville Middle School when I was an 8th grader there. At the time, the organization was called the “Youth Fisheries Sciences”. I asked Philip Herdman, a teacher there, to sponsor the club and he agreed. From there, we held an interest meeting where 50 student attended, making the club one of the most popular extracurriculars at the school. After that, I knew that I was onto something.

Why did you start the Bioma Project?

I started the Bioma Project after realizing that long term environmental issues in our world wouldn’t be fixed without a change in values. If people kept throwing trash on the ground, then picking up trash every month wouldn’t be a long term solution to the trash problem – but education is.

Bill teaches students at Swansfield Elementary about the importance of balancing minerals, such as nitrates, nitrites and phosphorous, in both the Bioma tank and the watershed.

What recognition have you received for your work?

In 2016, I was the recipient of the Tawes Award for my work in the Clarksville program of the Bioma Project and other environmentalist activities. Since then, I have received other awards and media mentions, including in an article in the Baltimore Sun.

What role did the other members play?

I couldn’t have started the Bioma Project and ran it without the support of others. My friends Vedaant Shah and David Balakirsky had played especially important roles in the program’s continued success. Vedaant helped with the program’s educational material, including technical tools such virtual reality, while also delivering plants and fish to the schools. David helped with designing the tank and recruiting new members. He is also the primary point of contact for a lot of our schools, including those joining for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Bioma Project looks forward to expanding and hopes for all of you to join the journey. As the new school year is underway, many of our members are currently gathering stream plants, catching native critters, and delivering equipment to schools.

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