Trout in the Classroom
For the past nine years, Spokane Conservation District in partnership with Trout Unlimited and other agencies and local sport fishing groups, have helped to coordinate a program called Trout in the Classroom Eastern Washington. Participating in this educational program, classrooms/schools get an average of 150 Rainbow Trout eggs from our local hatchery in January and raise the fish inside the schools. While students help to maintain water quality in the tank and care for their fish they can learn about the watershed, water quality, trout habitat and associated curriculum that fits with their science content. After raising the fish for four months, they take a field trip to a WDFW approved lake (eggs and water body approved through permits) within their local watershed, where they release their fish into the lake. This program is a wonderful way to connect students to local water issues and parks they may have never been to. This year during release day activities, there was an emphasis on invasive species education; since some of our local lakes have been plagued with goldfish and bullfrogs people release into the lakes causing extensive problems. Every year we try to share our appreciation of our local parks and water bodies because it is so important that we value these as a local natural resource. We are thankful for Spokane County Parks and the City of Medical Lake for letting us use these parks for free.
Just over a thousand students participated in Trout in the Classroom this year within our region, and next year we will have over two hundred more. This is a program that provides hands-on quality STEM education for students, but it also provides an opportunity for partnership within the community and most importantly, with our schools. This is a perfect example of our we can accomplish goals within our agency while providing once in a lifetime opportunity for our local youth.