Last week, our upper elementary classes traveled north to Ward Pound Reservation to release the trout we have been raising in the science lab this year. If you’re curious about the start of this project, please check out the first trout blog!
Over the course of the year, 4th and 5th graders have been responsible for testing the water in the trout tank to ensure that it was clean and safe for the young trout, or fingerlings. We also closely observed the trout, noticing the hydrodynamic shape of their bodies. Comparing and contrasting body shapes and adaptations of different living organisms is a key skill for elementary-aged scientists. Students also learned how fish breathe – while many knew they used gills instead of lungs, they were introduced to the concept of dissolved oxygen and learned where the oxygen fish breathe comes from (hint: it’s not the O from the H2O!)
It has been a real pleasure to raise and watch our trout, and equally exciting to head out of the city to release them into their new wild home. We met Lilli Genovesi, Program Coordinator for Trout In the Classroom, and she guided us through the woods to our release spot where volunteers from Trout Unlimited were waiting to meet us. We learned that the stream we would release our trout into was so clean, we couldn’t even step in it! Only our volunteers, with special wading pants and sterilized boots, could go into the water. They carefully guided each child to the water’s edge to release one of our trout, helping the fingerlings to swim away into deeper water. Good luck, trout!
After the release, we headed up to the picnic area where our volunteers had set up stations to observe macroinvertebrates from the stream. Students had a chance to identify crayfish, fly nymphs and larva, water bugs and more creepy-crawly creatures than they had ever imagined!
We enjoyed a picnic lunch out in the fresh air, and then back home again. Going forward, Trout in the Classroom will become a 4th grade tradition and project, with students in that grade taking on the responsibility of trout care, keeping and release. It was an exciting day, and I look forward to taking a new group next year!