SPARTA, NJ – The Alpine Elementary School student saw the culmination of their six month Trout in the Classroom program on June 15 when they released 25 healthy and hardy rainbow trout into the Wallkill River at Station Park.
Originally, JoAnn Ostrowski had introduced the program to the school and raised the trout with her second grade students. When the new STEP program came to Alpine, Patti McGovern took over the trout project. This allowed all students to participate in their weekly visits to her class.
Alpine’s PTO helps support the program by funding supplies necessary to maintain the 55 gallon tank.
In October, volunteers met at the Pequest Hatchery in Oxford to pick up the trout eggs and deliver them to the participating schools. About 300 rainbow trout eggs were delivered to Alpine School on October 15.
“We had a very successful hatch rate. Over 250 eggs hatched between October 25 and 27. The newly hatched eggs, called sac fry, stayed in a small container inside the tank for about a month,” said Patti McGovern. “In late November, the fry were released into the full tank and began eating trout food supplied by the TIC.”
Students watched the trout grow over the course of the next several months. They learned about life cycle, life needs, the importance of clean water and oxygen. In addition they practiced scientific observation and scientific writing; students kept Trout Journals in which they wrote and drew about what they observed in the tank. All students in grades K-2 participated in journal writing.
The release was attended by well over 100 people who came to say good bye and good luck to them.
Trout in the Classroom is run by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife and supported locally by Trout Unlimited.