Trout in the classroom lets kids take a journey with the fish
Picture about 100 fish eggs arriving by overnight express on a petri dish. What could come of this?
Rainbow trout, actually. They will grow in a fourth-grade classroom at Communion of Saints School in Cleveland Heights, but the experience will enrich the whole school.
Trout in the Classroom is an environmental education program for students in grades K–12. The students will raise the trout from eggs. They will test the water quality of the tank daily, while learning about stream habitat, ecosystems and conservation. At the end of the school year, the trout will be released in a state-approved stream or watershed.
Teacher Megan Wiggins prepared her students for the arrival of the tank and the fish. “I have talked so much about the tank, my voice is gone,” she said. “They are incredibly excited about this experience. As you can imagine, the whole school is talking about it.”
At the school’s open house for Catholic Schools Week, Wiggins’ classroom was the most visited. Parents and students alike wanted to check out the setup.
Trout in the Classroom comes to the school through the efforts of Kevin Lynn, a member of the school advisory committee. Lynn sought funding for the program and found a generous donor. The Emerald Necklace Chapter of Trout Unlimited donated $1,000 to acquire the tank, the all-important chiller, the filter, insulation, breeder baskets and a water chemistry testing kit. The chiller must keep the water between 51–56 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
Currently, the eggs are growing in breeding baskets and the tank is encompassed in a dark foam cover. There are cut outs through which the eggs can be viewed. The chiller is quiet so it doesn’t disturb the classroom. Each day, students record the activity of the fish, measure the water quality and wait. For these students, this experience will be the beginning of a great relationship with the water, our ecology and our responsibility to it.
Amy Fischer is a member of the School Advisory Committee at Communion of Saints School, formerly Saint Ann, located at 2160 Stillman Road, Cleveland Heights. For more information call 216-932-4177 or visit www.communionofsaintsschool.org.