Mars students learn about conservation by raising trout
Students at Mars Area High School watched as their classroom’s trout eggs hatched last week.
Now, they’ll care for the fish for several months before releasing them into the wild.
The eggs came to the classroom this month as part of the state’s Trout in the Classroom program, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
“They just love it,” said conceptual biology teacher Misty Thurber, who wrote the application for a grant from the Mars Planet Foundation Teaching Enrichment Grant, which helped pay for equipment. “They love to go back there and check in on them.”
The program aims to teach students about coldwater conservation by raising trout from eggs to fingerlings.
“They take excellent care of them,” Thurber said of the students. “They’re very meticulous with everything they do with the fish tank.”
Students used a turkey baster to transfer the eggs into a classroom aquarium, where they have monitored temperature, chemical levels and the health of the eggs.
Last week, the eggs hatched alevins – a newly spawned fish with the yolk sac still attached. Once they lose the sac, they become fry — tiny baby trout.
Thurber said the trout are about an inch long and beginning to swim.
For the next three to six months, students will monitor the progress of the fish, keeping them fed and clean and monitoring chemical levels in the water.
When the fry develop into fingerlings — sometime between February and May — students will release the trout into a nearby, state-approved stream.
“The goal is just to provide a lesson about cold water resources and basically to introduce that concept to students,” Thurber said. “It’s to get them interested in the environment.”
Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.