Do You Have A Project In Mind And Need A Bit Of Cash To Help Make It Happen?

Deadline Extended!

The Northern California Council Federation of Fly Fishers International (NCCFFI) is offering a series of mini-grants to teachers participating in the Classroom Aquarium Education Program (CAEP) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Funds received from these grants will be used to enhance the classroom experience of hatching trout in the classroom.

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Applicants must:

  • Be certified and in good standing with the CDFW Region 3 CAEP program (eligible to receive eggs)
  • Have participated in the program in 2018
  • Have submitted a complete 772 application to hatch fish in 2019
  • Teach in San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Marin, Santa Cruz or Solano Counties


Funds may be used for classroom materials that enhance students understanding of fish, watersheds, and/or how human actions affect fish, and be directly tied to your class study of trout. These funds are for purchasing materials only in any curriculum area including science, art, language arts or other subject areas. NCCFFI will not fund guest speakers or transportation.

Ideal projects:

  • Are repeatable (meaning you can use the materials more than one year)
  • Involve others (other schools, classes, or the community at large)
  • Use technology to reach a larger audience (videos, live casts, slide shows)
  • Match funds from the community (but not from the teacher)
  • Involve direct student action and involvement

All decisions by IFF are final.

Amount you may request

NCCFFF has about $1000 to distribute. The maximum award will be $250. Smaller requests are encouraged, as this will allow more classes to receive grants.

To apply

Complete the attached from and submit it to by 2/21/19.

Grants will be reimbursable based on actual receipts. If you receive an award letter, you may purchase items up to the dollar amount stated, submit the receipts and you will receive reimbursement.

IFF Classroom Aquarium Education Program Grant Application:

Please provide the information below in a separate document. Maximum 2 pages although supplemental info (photos, related projects) may be added to that.

  1. Teacher name
  2. School
  3. Sponsor
  4. Grade level taught
  5. Number of students who will benefit
  6. Provide a brief overview of your project
  7. List materials needs with an estimate of cost
  8. What are the desired outcomes of the project?
  9. Will other classes or schools participate in or benefit from this project? Please describe.
  10. List any outside funding or volunteer time (not including your coach or sponsor) that will be part of this project.
  11. What is the life-span of the materials you are purchasing? (is this a one-time project or will it continue into future years?
  12. Any additional information you would like to add? Feel free to attach photos or other supplemental materials you feel will be helpful.


Submit application no later than 2/21/19 to

2018 Grant Recipients

Tegan McGuinness and Emily GallagherNeil Cummins ElementaryMarin Environmental Literacy and Learning Collaborative
Alison WilkeyRio Vista Elementary SchoolTrout sculpture
Chandra SherrOhlone ElementaryFish t shirts
Linda HambrickSouth San Francisco High SchoolMarin Biology Tank
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Do You Study Streams And Macroinvertabrates With Your Students?

We have a limited supply of “Pond and Stream Safari” curriculum packet available to enhance your class experience of hatching fish. We are willing to offer these to you at no-cost – all we ask is that:

  1. You are hatching fish in your classroom this school year
  2. You plan on taking your class to a lake, pond,  or steam to explore and study


POND AND STREAM SAFARI, A Guide to the Ecology of Aquatic Invertebrates. Edelstein.  Perfect field guide for use with students ages 8-13. Includes project manual, reference guide, species identification cards, worksheets, and a checklist for recording data. Students can use this guide to locate and study crayfish, dragonfly nymphs, water bugs, whirligig beetles, diving beetles, mayfly nymphs, caddisfly larvae, and more


To request your copy, send an email  with the following information:

  • Your name
  • School name
  • Mailing address (include zip code)
  • A one paragraph description of how you hope to use the guide.

Here is more information on the guide 



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Being In Nature Improves The Quality Of Your Life

Image result for being outdoorsI think many of us believe this is true which is why, in part, we teach environmental concepts to our students. Here is a fun and fascinating podcast that demonstrates why our work is so important.



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Project E-Trout (Virtual Reality With Trout)

Linking research and education with virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) provides exciting opportunities for environmental education and research.

We invite your participation in a new program to engage students, anglers, and citizen
scientists in fish ecology and climate change research using new VR methods. Participants will
learn about fish ecology first-hand by exploring streams in VR and will be members of a
research team lead by US Geological Survey (USGS) scientists. This program is free and designed
for students, anglers, and citizen scientists of all ages.
Here’s how it works:
1. USGS collects 360-degree video samples from trout streams in Shenandoah National
Park, Virginia (completed during summer 2018).
2. Participants access videos from a website and use standard computer monitors or VR
headsets (e.g., Google cardboard) to watch them.
3. Participants then record data on fish species abundance and behavior using Google
Forms (or email).
4. USGS then analyzes the combined data and reports key findings to participants.
The inaugural program runs February to May 2019 and supports flexible scheduling:
participants can watch as few or as many videos as they want at any time. The program begins
with an introductory webinar by USGS in February and concludes with a webinar reporting
results in May. Your ideas and participation are essential for the success of this new program!

For more information and to register contact:
Nathaniel (Than) Hitt, PhD
US Geological Survey, Leetown Science Center; 304-724-4463

If you do participate, be sure to inform Ethan.

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Teacher Opportunities

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers quite an impressive list of services for teachers. Take a moment and see if any are of interest to you.

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The Classroom Aquarium Education Program (CAEP) was selected as an “Outstanding Aquatic Education Program” by the Aquatic Resources Education Association.

California has the largest program enabling students to hatch fish in their classroom in the nation. This award is a direct result of the participation of partners and classroom teachers who bring this experience to well over 30,000 students each year.

Thanks to all the teachers, sponsors, and coaches who make this possible each year.


AREA award 2018

The award was presented at the AREA annual conference held this year in Lake Tahoe. Accepting the award was Ethan Rotman, Cheryl Moxley, Hillary Grez, and Richard Munoz on behalf of the entire CDFW team of program coordinators, partners and teachers.

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Learning By Doing


Value: Engaging actively in classroom and outdoor activities makes the Classroom Aquarium Education Program (CAEP) effective for teachers and students of all ages. It also makes learning much more enjoyable.  Providing a teacher manual ensures that teachers will have a valuable future reference. The trout posters and “WILD About Trout” CD visually aid teachers and students, enhancing learning.

“The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover.  Teaching really means creating situations where discovery can occur.”   Jean Piaget

Main goals of CAEP workshops:

  • Prepare teachers to engage their students in active learning about local wildlife and watersheds
  • Provide teachers with information needed to legally participate in the CAEP (Trout in the Classroom and Steelhead in the Classroom) program.
  • Help teachers learn to assemble and operate a classroom aquarium
  • Provide access to curricula, support materials, and sponsors/coaches
  • Participate in an active workshop at which participants learn by interacting with each other during a variety of engaging activities.

To accomplish some of these goals, participants engage in a variety of activities:

Learning to Look: In pairs, we observe each other. Then we turn our backs and change one feature of our personal appearance. Next we face each other again and try to spot the change in our partner. The point: observation skills are one of the most important science skills. And playing this game before taking a hike or touring a nature center has proven to enhance subsequent observation skills. The point: interacting with each other at the beginning of a workshop is energizing and sets the stage for cooperative learning.

People Sort: We often progress to a game in which 2 participants are chosen to be in Group A and two others are chosen to be in Group B, based on one physical feature that differentiates the groups. Then everyone tries to guess what that feature is.  Whoever guesses correctly gets to lead the next round.  The amazing thing about this game is that there are potentially multiple possible correct answers—something that never happens in a classroom setting.  For example, the differentiating feature chosen might be glasses or no glasses. But these same groups might also have other differentiating features in common like blue jeans or shorts, height, hair color, earrings, etc.  All the responses are validated while the group is trying to arrive at the one chosen by the facilitator.  The student facilitator changes with each round, so the teacher isn’t always the expert in charge. The points: students can be teachers too, games are fun, and observation skills are valuable.

“The purpose of education should not simply be the collection of information, but rather the encouragement of creativity, imagination, and independent thinking.”  Margaret Kelley, Tilden Nature Area Supervisor


Return to the Redd trout life cycle board game-like learning activity and Macro-invertebrate ID challenge: These are migration simulation and sorting games invented by flyfishers and educators to simulate the salmonid life cycle and determine stream/lake health respectively.  Example: Sampling the macro-invertebrates (three photos in a zip lock bag given to a pair of students) can determine creek water purity without chemical kits, when matched with the Isaak Walton League macro-invertebrate chart. The point: better understanding of the trout life cycle and the importance of clean water through engaging challenges.

We follow up the Return to the Redd trout life cycle game with an active physical game Hooks and Ladders (from Aquatic Project Wild) in which we are steelhead migrating to the ocean and back, dodging predators, water pumps and anglers in the process. The point: actually experiencing the hurdles trout face and need to overcome during migration makes it real.

Oh Trout! simulates fish looking for the basics of survival: food, cool water and shelter, in a game played in rounds and graphed to see population fluctuations over time. The point: learn to see patterns by recording population fluctuations during an engaging activity and understand that energy flows through the environment and through life itself.

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We sometimes also play Protect the Redd (a variation of Muskox Maneuvers from Project Wild), in which a rogue trout tries to get in on the action at the Redd while the pair of salmonids tries to defend it (triangle tag). Roles (redd, salmon pair, intruder) change during each round of the game. The point: experience both the competition and cooperation in nature as roles change.

“I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.”   Chinese proverb

Summary: Most interpreters, teachers and public speakers, despite believing that they offer engaging programs, spend about 75% of their time lecturing. It is critically important to provide engaging, enjoyable, interactive activities in our programs to make sure we aren’t making this common mistake.  This workshop models how to truly engage participants in activities and with each other. Research shows that students who are actively engaged in their learning will enjoy their experience, learn more and remember it longer.

“If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.  It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.”  Rachel Carson

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