Brent Best with the Kanawha Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited says this program has been hugely successful. "We did the first pilot program with St. Albans Elementary and we went from one tank to 8 last year in the Kanawha Valley and this year we've grown the program to 22 schools across the state and we probably touched 6,000 kids and parents in the process."
That alone would make this project a success, but when you consider that all those people were releasing trout in waters that usually don't get stocked, well, you can see just how far reaching the Trout in the Classroom project really is.
"Kanawha State Forest has never had rainbow trout in their creeks. The last few years, there have been some trout put up in the upper reaches and have lived, so we are promoting the kids throughout the school year to grow the fish from eggs to fingerlings and then take them out to local streams and we're stocking fish." says Best.
That's just one benefit of this program. By the time spring comes around and it's time to release the fish, these kids know a whole lot more than just trout trivia.
"It's a way to teach the kids the importance of clean water and the life cycle of the fish and what it takes to get that fish from egg to fingerling and what that entails and they monitor water quality and things of that nature and are constantly changing and adjusting the water." says Best.
And when you consider all the time they take compiling and writing reports, you can see this is more than just your basic biology project!
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