New Beginnings…and Trout in the Classroom

I love teaching environmental science.  It is an opportunity to connect science to life.  Real life…so students NEVER have to wonder why the class matters.

This year, I took a Project Wild workshop and got certified by the Fish and Wildlife Service to hatch Rainbow Trout in my classroom.  My mentor for this project is my former high school biology teacher, which makes the experience even more special.  He is currently a full time fly fishing instructor.  I realize that it seems a bit odd to have a “hunter” coaching me to produce the “hunted”,  but avid fly fisher-folk have to posses a deep understanding of ecology, ecosystems and the life cycles of both fish and their prey.  I hope that watching our trout develop will inspire my students to be stewards of the environment and to pay more attention to how their behavior impacts others (…and not just members of the opposite sex! Spring is in the air, after all!)

In case you are wondering, yes, the tank IS sitting inside a styrafoam box.  In order for our babies to survive, the water temperature needs to be maintained in the low 50 degree range.  There is a “chiller” device resting on the top of the tank that is slightly submerged in the water, which helps to cool the water.  That, in combination with the foam cooler, helps to keep the temperature in a zone that our babies (they are called alevin “Al-uh-vin”) comfortable.

LarryLack

Larry Lack, teacher extraordinaire and fly fishing instructor in the Bay Area

Trout eggs with an eyespot

If you look closely, you can see tiny eggs, each with an eye spot.

student looking for alevin

Student looking for alevin, teeny baby trout

At a time when I might otherwise feel bitter over an unexpected change in my employment status, I am trying to look ahead and be optimistic.

Our babies hatched last week – and that gives me hope.

(In case you are wondering, the big blob on each fish belly is a yolk sac, which will nourish our young alevin for several weeks until they are released into a local stream.)

This IS a cooking website, so go ahead and make jokes.  Yes, they will be delicious…in a few months.

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