SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Students in West Virginia are learning about environmental stewardship by raising trout in their classroom and later releasing them into the wild.
The interactive program, called Trout in the Classroom, is sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and Trout Unlimited and funded by local supporters. It teaches kids about trout life cycles and biology, water quality, stream habitat, conservation ethics and ecosystem balance.
During the course of the program, students raise trout from fertilized eggs in aquariums. They’re responsible for daily temperature readings, cleanings, monitoring pH levels and recording other data that helps them keep the trout healthy.
And all that hard work pays off when students get to release the trout at the end of the school year.
“These kids take these fish and raise them and give back to the state, and I just think it’s a great program and fun to see the kids out in the streams playing at the end of the year,” said Brent Best, a teacher at Malden Elementary, which has participated in the Trout in the Classroom program for about eight years.
If you ask the students, they say the program has taught them everything there is to know about raising fish. They also learn about different trout species in West Virginia, what they eat and the kinds of habitats that help them thrive in the wild.
And the program has educational benefits beyond the classroom by getting students excited about the outdoors at an early age, something that often leads to an interest in sport fishing, hunting and conservation later in life.