Maple Street School students are getting a hands-on introduction into what it takes to raise and release trout through their Trout in the Classroom initiative. This program, sponsored by Trout Unlimited, has brought trout eggs to the school this month, and students will study all aspects of this process, culminating in the release of the young fry into local waterways.
The program, managed at Maple Street by Upper School Science Teachers Julie Mackey and Suzanne Alfano, will introduce students to a scientific study of the process, including monitoring of the tank water quality as well as the river water quality, and an in-depth study of the stream habitat, and ecosystem connectivity. More than 60 Vermont schools are also participating in Trout in the Classroom.
“We are so excited to bring this learning opportunity to Maple Street, where students will have first-hand experience raising trout, and making connections to biology, chemistry, ecology, and conservation,” said Mackey. Alfano added, “The other day I worked with 6th grade to perform a 50% water change using a siphon. This led to a physics discussion on how a siphon works.”
Alfano and Mackey attended a day-long Trout in the Classroom workshop, where they received all the information they would need to introduce this project to students in multiple grades at Maple Street School. The tank and materials were set up at school beginning in November, to get the water and systems ready to receive the eggs. Students will learn how to care for the eggs with the goal of releasing the young fry late in May.
"This type of hands-on project learning is emblematic of what we do in the classroom on a daily basis,” said Fanning Hearon, Head of School. “I am excited about this fascinating STEM project for a number of reasons, most importantly, our students will have the chance to hand deliver the trout they have raised to the Battenkill River which borders on our campus directly from their classroom. How cool is that?"
The Trout in the Classroom project is part of Maple Street School’s new Outdoor Classroom initiative, which began this fall with the opening of a 0.7-mile trail loop. The trails connect all areas of the school’ 21-acre campus. Projects that have been launched in the Outdoor Classroom have included tree identification, work with a local forester, a river study, book walks and journaling.