The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 16, 2008

High school students schooled about fish

SIDMAN — Trout in the Classroom is one fishy project.

Since 2006, the state-wide program has been instructing students on how to raise and care for trout from the egg phase to full-grown adults.

The fish will be sent on their way in May when students release them into local streams.

Since early November, students at Forest Hills and Shade high schools have been cultivating brook trout in

55-gallon aquariums.

Students and supporters of Trout in the Classroom gathered Tuesday at Forest Hills to talk about the project and how the fish are developing.

“We hope this project will help students connect with nature and they’ll carry on the work we’re doing today,” said Melissa Reckner, program director for the Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team.

Sometime in the spring, students from Forest Hills will release their fish at Laurel Run while Shade students will turn their trout loose in Beaverdam Run.

“The students have been learning everything – from how to set up an aquarium, to testing for water quality, to the feeding habits and threats to the fish and how ecosystems work,” Reckner said.

Forest Hills sophomore Ian McCue said he has gotten quite attached to the tiny creatures.

“We care about them, and it’s teaching us how to care for another living being,” he said.

“This project connects us with nature and wildlife.”

Tyler McKay said it takes much skill to raise the trout in the right way.

“This has been a great educational experience and it helps you better understand what goes into raising and stocking these fish,” the Forest Hills senior said.

It costs about $1,000 to bring one of these projects into a classroom.

State funding is handled through the Mountain Laurel Chapter of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited.

The Beaverdale Sportsmen’s Club and Laurel Run Rod & Gun Club matched the $500 grant.

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