Teacher responses to survey on hatching fish in a COVID-environment

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Classroom Aquarium Education Program (CAEP)

Report date: September 1, 2020


The Classroom Aquarium Education Program (CAEP) is a statewide educational program that encourages teachers to hatch salmonids in their classrooms for release into the waters of California. To be eligible, teachers must attend a training workshop and receive a 772 permit (permit to hold, transport, and release fish) from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The program exists in all land=based regions of the state. There are statewide guidelines and requirements for the program and each region is allowed discretion on certain aspects of implementation. While most teachers hatch trout for release into specified lakes, Chinook Salmon and steelhead are used where appropriate.

Project Overview

As schools quickly transitioned to remote learning in early 2020 in response to the Covid-19 situation, CAEP coordinators recognized the program would need to be adapted to best support teachers in the new environment. While it was unclear what the 2020/21 school year would look like, regional coordinators wanted to be ready for any situation. This program requires a significant amount of teacher time and therefore attracts teachers with a high level of motivation in regards to teaching environmental concepts and who are extremely dedicated to creative teaching methods, we wanted to gauge teachers feelings and attitudes about hatching fish in the coming year under a variety of teaching strategies. We also wanted to know which technological solutions (platforms and apps) teachers were using and had access to in their schools.


We estimate approximately 1200 teachers from all land-based regions were sent a survey link of which 413 unique responses were received. While the vast majority of the respondents were teachers with valid permits for hatching fish in the 2019/20 school year, there was a small number of “coaches” and teachers who have expressed an interest in the program but have not hatched fish responding.

Survey results were interpreted and evaluated by Gail Davis and Bridget Kennedy with Tara Stogner providing the final interpretation, findings, and executive summary. Ethan Rotman was lead on the project with Richard Munoz, Gail Davis, Jennifer O’Brien creating and implementing the survey tool. Most CAEP staff participated in sending the survey link to their teachers.

The survey link was sent out in mid-April 2020 and left open for approximately 1 month.

Executive Summary

Due to the current dynamic standards of social distancing and stay at home orders, many participants had unsure responses. However, even with all of the uncertainty, it is clear that the majority of CAEP teachers are eager to find ways to continue hatching fish. Overall, 83% of teachers responded stating they are likely to participate in some form of fish hatching next year.

Across all regions, there was an overwhelming majority of teachers opting to have aquariums at home, if needed, in order to continue facilitating the program to students. Most responded “yes” while the next most commonly selected answer was “Maybe, need more information”. In future surveys, it would be very beneficial to include an open answer field for additional feedback on the question so that further inferences can be made off of the qualitative data.

The most preferred digital distance learning resource chosen in this survey was Google Classrooms, closely followed by Zoom, and then Flipgrid, Seesaw, and Microsoft teams. This is valuable information to use when deciding where to host some of your program’s activities, however, it is important to note this survey was conducted in May of 2020, and teachers’ competency and comfort with newer online teaching tools likely increased over the summer.

Responses on preferred distance learning resources and tools used were quite extensive. No single approach will fit the needs of every classroom, but with that being said there are some approaches that will satisfy many. The most common tool mentioned/requested throughout the teachers’ comments was the use of videos. Videos in many different formats such as more informative or demo videos, prerecorded and live interviews of professionals, live streams of tanks, and of activities that students can do at home would provide a lot of value to classrooms during distance learning. Important comments to note were how to address students with limited/no internet access as well as making more multi-lingual and those created for students with special needs resources available.

Along with the creation of individual resources such as videos, assignments, or PDFs, there was a lot of feedback from teachers asking for the resources to be in a universal format, allowing them to be integrated into their own curriculum platform, whatever that may be (mostly google classrooms or zoom). It was important that they can pick and choose different resources and plug them in where it fits best for their class. Also, being aligned with NGSS was also a very popular request, many teachers listed specific standards they’d like to address through CAEP.

The preferred workshop style was a mixed one consisting of live and prerecorded content. Following the mixed style of training was the live single day webinar and in-person single day training. The single-day options were more favorable overall with the self-guided online training following closely behind.

In conclusion, it is obvious that being flexible and as accommodating as possible to our teachers is key this upcoming year. Many teachers are clearly dedicated to providing CAEP in whatever way possible. While a dedicated platform has not been designated it may be beneficial to host any CAEP resources or training through these popular platforms to provide optimal accessibility.


  • Create videos; a mix of live and prerecorded assets were heavily requested
  • Make resources easily accessible; teachers would like resources to be provided in/on a universal format/platform that allows them to plug in resources wherever fits best in their lesson plan
  • Consider providing resources on platforms such as Google Classrooms, Zoom, FlipGrid, and Seesaw; these are the most used platforms
  • Live stream aquariums
  • Match NGSS Standards as much as possible with any resources created and/or provided
  • Provide distance learning resource options for classrooms that do not have internet access
  • Provide resources in multi-lingual and special needs options whenever possible
  • Convert any existing non-digital resources (posters, worksheets, etc.) into digital format


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Questions (and answers) about hatching fish in 2021

We Bet You Have Questions!

We know you have lots of questions about the upcoming year. We can’t help you with all of them but can provide some clarity on your experience hatching fish with your students.

Will I be able to hatch fish this year?

Absolutely. Eggs will be available to all qualified teachers who submit an application for eggs. The process for applying for eggs is the same as in the past.

Can I hatch at home if my school is closed?

Yes – if your school is in a hybrid model or all online, you will have the option to hatch from your house and share the lessons with your students online.

When do I need to decide?

You should apply for eggs by the December 15 deadline. You can cancel your eggs days before the delivery date if needed. If you think you may want to hatch this year, then apply for eggs.

What can I expect from my coach?

I do not have an answer to this question at this time. While coaches are highly committed to helping you, they are also concerned for their own well being. It is unknown if visitors will be allowed or welcome on campus. We will not encourage coaches to enter teachers homes.

All of our sponsor organizations are on board and interested in helping teachers this year in what ever manner is safe and possible.

I suggest you make a decision to hatch on the assumption you will receive limited in-person support.

Will my eggs be delivered?

It is our intention to deliver eggs in a safe, contactless manner to all teachers to your school or your home. We have not worked out the details but will do our best! The exception to this is in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties where we will have a contactless pick up system.

Will there be training workshops this year?

YES! We are busy creating virtual training for teachers new to the program and a series of short webinars for all teachers to discuss the new tools, resources, and to answer questions. Details and info to follow!

Are there online resources to help me with distance learning?

YES! We have been working all summer and more to create tons of new toys/tools for you.

  • FlipGrid (www.flipgrid.com – Discovery Library, California State Parks, Search “CAEP”)
  • Oppia
  • YouTube
  • Steelhead in the Classroom LIVE!
  • Kahoot quizes by grade level
  • And more
  • And even more being coming this fall

If I sit this year out, will I be eligible for eggs next year?

Yes you will. If you have received eggs and complied with all aspects of your permit within the past 3 years, you remain eligible to receive more eggs.

Last year there was a series of videos following the development of eggs/fish to release – will this be offered again this year?

Yes! We will again offer the weekly broadcasts of Steelhead in the Classroom LIVE!
Lots of virtual content on a variety of topics posted on the CDFW website.

How can I live-stream the egg hatching/fish development to my students?

This depends on if you want to use the live stream we create or if you want to live stream from your own tank. We will send you links for our stream this winter. We are writing up instructions to assist teachers in live streaming from their own tank.

What type of support can teachers in San Jose expect?

The San Jose Fly Casters has committed to sponsor all classes in the San Jose area. This means that for the first time in 6 years you will have a coach and enjoy all the additional support you need. You will be invited to a special Zoom event to meet your new sponsors.

I was not able to return my permit last year – will I be able to receive eggs this year

Teachers who fail to return their permits are not eligible to receive more eggs unless they go through a training workshop. Last year was unusual and we did make accommodations by extending deadlines and sending multiple reminders to teachers. You should contact Ethan Rotman (ethan.rotman@wildlife.ca.gov)

What type of support will be offered to coaches who need help with the new technology?

Coaches will be invited to an interactive webinar where you will be introduced to many of the new tools and apps available to teachers.

I have some cool tools I developed last year – is there a. way for me to share them?

Please send an email and copy (or link) to the materials if you can to Ethan.

I have a question you did not address.

Please drop us an email and we will get right back to you!

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Bon Tempe Release Schedule


This is the schedule of releases for Bon Tempe Reservoir for 2020

If you have questions, please call or text Monica at (415) 991-0877 or send an email to marintrout@gmail.com.

You will only need parking passes if you are releasing prior to March 23rd, after April 3, or on a weekend, .

Teacher School #Students & Totals/Day 
Thursday, 3/19
Susan Artis Bel Aire 20
Lesley Chapman + Christina Hale + Janet Daijogo MCDS 58
Kim Kirley Park 46
Danny Marsh Park School 54
Susan Artis Bel Aire 20
Tyler Higgins Wade Thomas 26
Jeff Krieger Brandeis Marin 18
Bob Olson Brown St. Patrick School 17
Amanda Estes The Cove School 50
Jenny Cavanna Wade Thomas 26
Susan Ardigo Wade Thomas 24
Liza Mathews with Ms. Matto Neil Cummins 49
Christian Naventi Star Academy 11
Carolyn Robello Sun Valley 19
Michelle Giraud Sun Valley 20
Cindy Leroux Sun Valley 19
Hayley Taitz Sun Valley 19
Catherine Sanner Vallecito 36
Jolee Woolard Vallecito 36
Susan Guadagno Marin Horizon School 27
FRIDAY, 3/27, MORNING till 1:30
Mimi Reddick and Emily Shaw Lucas Valley Elementary 72
Tracie Stein JCC Preschool Tiburon 7
Lauren Gamboa JCC Preschool Tiburon 17
Sara Lieber Bolinas Stinson School 0
Beth Kraft Loma Verde Elementary 23
Judy Van Evera West Marin Elementart 25
Laura Malekian Venetia Valley 24
Allie Hoch Venetia Valley 20
Allison Kegley Venetia Valley 24
Mary Acord Manor Elementary School 25
Monti/Borella Strawberry Point Avenue 50
Colleen McAree Marin Montessori School 15
Eva Geisse Mark Day School 44
michele mcculloch Marin Horizon School 24
Ann Eshoff Edna Maguire School 26
Katie Ward Edna Maguire Elementary School 25
Tegan McGuinness and Emily Gallagher Neil Cummins 48
Katrine Halstenson Brookside 23
Jen Kappelhof Brookside 24
Micah Lewis Montessori de Terra Linda 19
Jason Traut Ross School 18
Andrea Meyers Ross School 19
Laura Honda Brookside 22
Marty Ross BACICH 23
Theo Hausammann Bacich School 22
Marc Belmont Laurel Dell 45
Michael Stunz Rancho 28
Ruth Rotman Novato Charter School 25


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5 Teachers Receive “Funds For Fry”

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020 “Funds For Fry”

The following teachers will receive money from the International Federation of Fly Fishers (the fiscal sponsor of the Bay Area Classroom Aquarium Education Program) to help further their class exploration of fish.

1. Pam Galletti – John Muir Elementary, Sponsor: Diablo Valley Fly Fishers
$ 250.00 – Classroom materials to create and implement the app “Vizzit” related to the trout hatching experience

2. Anna Rudolph – Eldridge Elementary, Sponsor: Mission Peak Fly Anglers
$ 200.00 – Microscope to attach to the aquarium

3. Alison Wilkey – Rio Vista Elementary – Diablo Valley Fly Fishers
$ 220.00 – Print trout life cycle t-shirts

4. Ellie Schoelen -Pescadaro Elementary Sponsor: San Gregorio ERC
$ 250.00 – Purchase Aquasprouts fish tank garden

5. Zelma Urzua – Marsh Elementary – Sponsor: Diablo Valley Fly Fishers
$250 – Art materials to create a series of 28 paintings on trout in their habitat

Would you like to receive funds next year? Watch for the announcement on the blog and in e-newsletters. The funds used come from the fee most teachers pay to attend the training workshops.

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