An upstream battle for the environmental class


Photo Credit: Erica Melz

Glen Rock High School adopts baby trout for science program.

The environmental students became proud parents on October 16th, 2013 — to about 400 trout eggs, that is.

The trout eggs arrived in the afternoon to the environmental science room and were placed into a hatch basket. The chiller keeps the temperature of the tank at an astonishingly low temperature to mimic the temperature of a stream. A constant flow of water also helps to simulate the stream so the trout can survive.

The environmental students (and any students that are interested) will be raising trout from now until May, when they will be released into a local stream at the arboretum in town. Mrs. McDermott is working with her students to raise as many trout as possible and keep these fish in existence.

Unfortunately, only about 5% of the trout are expected to survive until the students release them, but this is about the same amount that would survive on their own. Starting with over 400 eggs, this is a good outcome with how many survive.

Raising the trout in the classroom will benefit the fish by giving them a “happy, safe place to develop and survive,” and it will benefit the environment by restoring our native fish. The number of natural trout is dwindling, so by raising them in this safe environment, it will increase the number of these indigenous animals.

Since this is the second year of this hatching experience, the students have learned from the setbacks they encountered last year, and the plan to use this information to help correct flaws and improve the outcome of the fish this year — ultimately helping more fish survive.

Students intend to test the water and make sure that the trout have an optimum environment to live and develop in.

This project is intended “to educate students on cold water conservation,” explained Mrs. McDermott.  Students need to recognize “how important our local streams are.”

Unfortunately, most students who don’t take environmental science are not aware of this project.

Brendan Murray, a freshman student at Glen Rock High School, was recently introduced to the trout eggs.  Like most students, he was not previously aware of the environmental students’ efforts.

He considered the idea and then shared his reasoning behind the trout hatching: “To eat?”

Hopefully this program will help raise awareness toward the floundering number of trout extant in natural streams.