Trout In The Classroom
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Trout In The Classroom


(narrator) Tucked in the corner
of Jeff Wade’s 5th grade classroom at Northern Elementary School
in Bemidji is an experiment. [sound of aerator] His class is the first one
in Minnesota to participate in
‘Trout in the Classroom’ a project designed to raise trout
from eggs to fingerlings. It’s a cooperative venture between
the Minnesota DNR, the Nielson Foundation, and the Headwaters chapter
of Trout Unlimited. (Steve) The initial concept for
Trout in the Classroom was to allow a live release
of the fry in the springtime into a local body of water, with the idea being that
the children would then make a more direct connection
with that body of water. (narrator) Last December,
about 500 lake trout eggs were acquired from the DNR. To mimic the cold water habitat
the eggs originally came from, a special piece of equipment
was purchased for the class aquarium. (Tony) the main difference
with raising trout is that you need cold water, so we have a chiller that
the water cycles through and keeps that water
at about 49 degrees. (narrator) Tony Kennedy,
DNR area fisheries specialist, oversees the project…
with the help of others. (Tia) We have to keep the water
really clean. (narrator) That’s Tia Armstrong.
She’s one of the technicians responsible for
looking after the trout. The students feed the fish,
and clean the tank. The students feed the fish,
and clean the tank. (Parker) …immerse the siphon
into the water, and make sure we have no air in it… sometimes we get a trout
in there. (narrator) Of course they
put them back. They measure the trout,
noting every millimeter of growth. What they’re also noting is that
there are fewer fish each day. On this day, only about
175 are left. (Jeff) If one egg out of
every 10 survives, how many will survive
if there are 40 eggs? (narrator) This lesson of life
also provides a lesson in math. (Jeff) We’re always looking
for real data, and relevant data. So we’ve been able to use
and graph the mortality rate, the average growth of the fish
over a certain period of time. (narrator) These tiny fish will be
about two inches long by May when they’re expected
to be released. But they’ll have to meet
stringent guidelines if they’re to be set free. (Tony) We need a sample of about
60 fish to be tested for diseases. It’s very important that
we don’t send a message of just stocking fish
sort of willy-nilly. (narrator) Mr. Wade hopes
the lessons learned here will last a lifetime. (Jeff) I hope that the kids
are getting the message that, you play an integral role
in making these things available to yourself
and future generations. (narrator) I’m Denny Behr
for the Minnesota DNR.

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