SALTSBURG — Fifth-grade students in science classes at Saltsburg Elementary School raised brook trout from eggs to fingerlings in a 55-gallon aquarium during their first “Trout in the Classroom” project this spring.
On Thursday, May 16, the students released the trout into Blacklegs Creek.
The Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited received a Sporting and Aquatic Resource Education Grant from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to administer mini-grants to implement “Trout in the Classroom” projects across Pennsylvania. With the assistance of the Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team, Saltsburg Elementary applied for and received a grant to purchase the necessary equipment to start this project at the school. The Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association and Trout Nursery provided matching funds to initiate the project.
Since November, when more than 300 brook trout eggs were delivered to the school, students raised trout to the fingerling stage for release into the creek. The project was performed under the direction of Molly Carr and David Gerstel.
Assisting with the project were Melissa Reckner, Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team director, and Art Grgruic, Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association wetlands coordinator.
As part of the project, the students:
• monitored the water quality of the aquarium;
• cared for and observed the fish;
• maintained journals;
• studied stream health and fish habitat;
• worked to understand and appreciate water resources;
• and fostered a healthy watershed ethic.
On the day of the release, students acclimated and released the trout into the creek and participated in five outdoor workshops: the importance of stream buffers, water chemistry testing and a tour of the Kolb Acid Mine Drainage system; building a watershed; discovering bugs that live in waterways; and fly-casting.