It’s that time of year again. Students all over America are releasing the trout they’ve spent the better part of a school year raising in chilled tanks as a part of Trout Unlimited’s Trout in the Classroom program.
TIC is a science-based curriculum that teaches elementary and middle-school students all about trout (and, in some cases, salmon), their biology, their life cycle and their role in their native enivronments. Eggs for the program are generally provided thanks to partnerships with state fish and wildlife agencies, and they’re delivered to classrooms, usually in the fall. The eggs incubate in oxygenated water in temperature-controlled tanks.
Then, usually sometime in late winter or early spring, the magic happens. The eggs hatch into alevins—tiny little trout that carry their yolk sacks around with them for food for the next couple of weeks. Then, as the yolk sacks are absorbed, they become “real” trout—they eat on their own, and the grow.
Over the last several weeks—usually depending on the species of fish and the region of the country where students live—schoolchildren spend a day outside in a local watershed where they say goodbye to the fish they’ve spent a school year raising.
The goals are many. Not only is TU trying to teach students about trout, but also about water and the need for a strong conservation ethic moving foward. Trout need cold, clean water to survive, an ever-shrinking commodity, and instilling this knowledge into children at a young age will hopefully plant the seeds for the next generation of conservation-minded anglers.
In the video above, you’ll see how students in Utah spent their TIC time, and watch as they release their fish into a local impoundment.
TU is, at its heart and soul, a conservation organization that focuses on trout and salmon and their habitat. But we also understand that there are many avenues by which volunteers arrive at TU. Anglers are perhaps are greatest volunteer resource, but by working with coming generations, we can instill the importance of a healthy environment in children who may one day never pick a fishing rod, but who might understand that if trout are healthy, our waters are healthy, too.
Thank you to all the TIC instructors all over America for another great year of Trout in the Classroom.
— Chris Hunt