Trout In the Classroom

By Beacon Staff

Trout In The Classroom is a national environmental education program sponsored by Trout Unlimited. Students raise fish from fry or eggs through the school year in classroom aquariums. In collaboration with teachers, volunteers, government agencies and local organizations, the program fosters an important conservation ethic by connecting kids with our aquatic environment. Elementary, middle, and high school students care for their fish by feeding, monitoring the quality of the water in the tanks, studying the connectedness of stream habitats and engaging in fish habitat studies. Local programs are tailored to the curricula needs of the schools.

The TIC program has grown to more than 200 classrooms nationwide during the past twenty years. Flathead Valley Trout Unlimited sponsors TIC programs at the Kalispell and Whitefish Middle Schools as well as at Glacier High School. A full classroom aquarium setup may cost between $1,200 and $1,400. Teachers are able to apply through our chapter for grants to cover all the equipment they may need to start a program. Fish and eggs are obtained from local hatcheries at no cost to the school. In the Flathead, programs raise westslope cutthroat trout and redband rainbow trout, both of which are native species and are considered “species of concern” in Montana.

Kids learn to care about and appreciate the aquatic environment on which fish depend. Teachers provide instruction on the importance of watershed health and water quality to both the fish and to ourselves. The long-term goal of the TIC program is to teach the importance of coldwater fish conservation and to “reconnect an increasingly urbanized population of youth to the system of streams, rivers, and watersheds that sustain them.” The Flathead Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited would like to thank our local teachers, Bonnie Streeter, Pat Allick, Allison Mitchell and Tim Joern for their successful participation in the Trout In The Classroom program this year and we look forward to expanding this worthwhile conservation effort as funding permits.

For more information on our local conservation and education outreach programs, please visit our website at FlatheadTU.org.

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