Community | Youth

Teachers, staff step up to save trout at Colorado school

Dana Levesque, coordinator of innovation, equity and learning, third-grade teacher Lark Knigge and Lenksi Elementary School security officer Bill Comforth perform the fish testing procedure prior to releasing the schools trout while the students were out of school amidst the pandemic..
William Gilmore photo.

By Matt Moskal

It’s a heart-warming phenomenon when stress, hardship and tragedy bring people together. Groceries are delivered to elderly neighbors, engineers fabricate ventilators seemingly out of thin air and corporations donate millions to those in need. Even in the most polarized of eras, hardship brings out the best in humanity. For Colorado conservationists, nowhere was this very human behavior more exemplary than the Trout in the Classroom program at Lenski Elementary.

When Covid started to get serious and schools began to close, students at Lenski became concerned that the trout fry they had spent months raising from eggs might have to be euthanized without the students present to keep tank water clean and oversee their growth. Lenski Elementary staff, getting wind of the students’ concern, stepped up in a big way.

Using security cameras and a strategic round-the-clock volunteer shift rotation, staff have been able to monitor and care for the fry while livestreaming their progress to students learning from home. Science teachers monitored water quality. Students wrote letters of gratitude. Trout live to fight another day.

Like you, we at Colorado Trout Unlimited are focused on appropriate management during the Great Lockdown. Our staff and leadership councils are staying safe and smart, of course, but in the face of the Great Lockdown we are still continuing our push for clean, healthy Colorado watersheds. We’re working for our children, our grandchildren and for the unborn millions of Coloradoans yet to come. We’re laying keystone building blocks to ensure that our watersheds remain healthy for millennia and we’re stubborn as a bull moose in our endeavor.

So when we emerge from our homes and go back to our offices and our schools, we won’t forget how fortunate we were, in such uncertain times, to have folks like you as part of the CTU family. So from us to you — our deepest gratitude for keeping a watchful eye on your local watershed so we can forever preserve healthy fish populations … both in and out of the classroom.

Matt Moska is the Colorado Trout Unlimited President