Students raised trout for six months before releasing them into the Wissahickon.

Students raised trout for six months before releasing them into the Wissahickon.

After six months of raising brook trout from eggs to fingerlings, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Lower School students released over 230 trout into the Wissahickon Creek in April. This was part of the Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program, an interdisciplinary program in which students learn about coldwater conservation while raising trout in a classroom aquarium.

A collaboration between the Science Department and the Outdoor Program at SCH, the trout project tied into the students’ study of water, including watersheds, food webs, and conservation topics. The eggs arrived at SCH’s two Lower Schools in November, and the boys and girls were able to watch the development of their fish firsthand and help monitor the water quality in tanks in their science classrooms.

“The Trout in the Classroom program has allowed my students to make a deeper connection to the local watershed,” said Marianne Maloy, the teacher in charge of the girls’ program. “By caring for and learning about the trout, they have a better understanding about the importance of freshwater conservation here in Philadelphia.”

Walking in twos and carrying the trout in buckets, the SCH students successfully released the fingerlings into Wissahickon Creek. They first had to acclimate the fish to the water, which consisted of slowly pouring water from the Wissahickon into the buckets for about half an hour. While acclimating the fish to the water in the creek, the students wrote about the life of the trout from the trout’s point of view. Once the fish were fully acclimated, each student released three to five fish.

“What I have enjoyed the most about Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom is witnessing my students taking ownership over the project,” said Sarah Hendrickson, the teacher in charge of the boys’ program. “From testing the water quality, to feeding, to releasing the trout in the Wissahickon, the boys not only learned how to be responsible and patient but also developed a great appreciation for all aquatic life.”