Mr. Vogt’s sixth-grade science class at St. Marys Catholic Middle School is learning how to maintain ecosystems by participating in Trout in the Classroom, a program in which students learn about coldwater conservation while raising brook trout from eggs to fingerlings in a classroom aquarium.
The eggs arrive in early November and are taken care of until May. The students are responsible for testing the pH ammonia nitrate and nitrate to ensure the environment inside the aquarium is livable for the brook trout, the Pennsylvania state fish. Along with keeping the conditions stable, the students are able to observe the lifecycle of the trout first hand.
The students will later participate in a trout release at Bendigo State Park. When the fingerlings are released, they will be between two and three inches long. During this field trip, the students will learn about watersheds and macroinvertebrates and how they escape predators in their natural environment.
It takes nearly a whole school year to complete this project, but the kids all agree it is time well spent!