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Something Fishy Going On in NC Classrooms

PHOTO: The "Trout in the Classroom" program allows students to observe the growth of trout from eggs to fingerlings. Photo courtesy Dan River Basin Assn.
PHOTO: The "Trout in the Classroom" program allows students to observe the growth of trout from eggs to fingerlings. Photo courtesy Dan River Basin Assn.
January 29, 2014

EDEN, N.C. - Hundreds of North Carolina school children are hooking a big catch in their classrooms, learning about nature with the help of one of the state's native fish.

"Trout in the Classroom" is a program of Trout Unlimited that enables some North Carolina students to care for trout eggs and fingerlings as part of their curriculum.

"Even the little kids," said Brian Williams, program manager for the Dan River Basin Association and one of the program's coordinators. "The kids still participate, whether they're feeding the trout or learning about pollution or healthy waterways - or whatever it is, the teacher can utilize something."

Students from kindergarten through high school raise trout eggs and watch them grow, monitor tank water quality and study stream habitat. Through the program, Williams said, teachers report that the kids gain a greater appreciation for water resources, a better understanding of the ecosystem and greater awareness of conservation.

In many cases, Williams said, the trout impact students in other ways as well.

"Their grades improve," he said. "In fact, we had one school that their principal said that they passed all their science scores for the first time, the year they had the trout tank in schools."

Trout in the Classroom is funded with support from individuals, corporations and nonprofit groups. So far, 11 schools in Stokes, Rockingham and Guilford counties are participating, but Williams said they are open to bringing the program to other students as well.

Reporting for this story by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest. Media in the Public Interest is funded in part by Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Stephanie Carson/Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC