“Kids In Need” Foundation Invites Applications For Teacher Grants

The Kids In Need Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free school supplies to economically disadvantaged school children and underfunded teachers, is accepting applications from pre-K-12 teachers for grants in support of classroom projects.

Teacher grants of up to $500 will be awarded to educators in support of projects that strengthen creativity, critical thinking skills, and/or core knowledge by engaging students in the learning process. Grant awards are based on the creativity of the projects being proposed. Typically, three hundred to six hundred grants are awarded each year.

All certified pre-K-12 teachers in the United States are eligible to apply.

See the Kids in Need Foundation website for complete program information and application guidelines.

Link to Complete RFP

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5 Napa Students Take Action To Protect Their Watershed

We are five middle school girls from River Middle School in Napa who took action to help our local waterways and the environment that lives around it. What we did was have a bake sale in front of a car wash and restaurant in Napa Valley and sold cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. We ended up raising $50. We did a bake sale because we wanted to not only raise money but awareness too. Doing a bake sale was easy to get planned, and accomplished our action goals. Before we went out and did our bake sale, in our classroom we have been researching this topic. We raised trout and took observations, and even dissected a fish! We learned from CAEP that they really do help us learn more about this subject and that’s is why we wanted to raise money for this organization.


We also created this website – http://savenapawaterways.weebly.com/

Serena K., Maddie S., Ana B., Ava H., and Izzy M.

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Free Macroinvertabrate ID Cards

Did I mention they are free? No cost? Zippo? Well, you have to print them or use them on a screen with your students but these are a really good resource. Check them out.


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The Leaf Pack Experiment – A Free Workshop

The Leaf Pack Experiment is a fun, hands-on research and outreach tool for non-scientists which demonstrates how our actions on land impact life in streams and water quality. Leaf Pack promotes inquiry-based interdisciplinary watershed education and engages diverse audiences in conducting their own experiments, gathering relevant ecological data, exploring food webs, learning classification skills, using technology to share data, comparing data with those of other communities and applying that information to protect local watersheds.

Join us at this workshop and you learn how

Saturday, May 21, 2016

9 AM to 4:30 PM

Sacramento Waldorf School

student macro invertebrate




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Art Ideas From A Teacher

Lynn Nichelini teaches at the Santa Margarita Children’s Center in Marin. She found these very cool “little fish” and has shared the source and some ideas of how she uses them in her classroom.

She uses them in a variety of ways including…
– with blue playdough
– to make impressions in clay/playdough
– for sorting/measuring/weighing activities
– stream/lake provocation (blue material for water, wood pieces, rocks) for pretend play
– visual for drawing


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Keeping Invaders Out – Wardens and Biologists Make A Great Team

Hatching fish in your classroo helps instill a sense of stewardship within students. They learn to care about their local environments and work to protect and preserve these valuable resources. Some people grow up not caring about the environment or the impact they have on the world.

This article provides an inside look on how law enforcement wardens work to protect California from unscrupulous individuals who sell illegal animals and plants for profit.

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Why Are My Eggs Hatching Early?

I have received several inquiries regarding eggs that are hatching seemingly early. A few teachers have reported eggs hatching before they even made it into the fish tank. As sponsor, you may be the first point of contact for teachers.

All in all – we are experiencing a successful year. The eggs are healthy, we are seeing good survival rates, and most of all – students are learning about fish and aquatic habitats. Yes, some classes have to change their release date to accommodate early hatch and fast development.


Here are a few insights:

  • Hatching fish in classrooms is not an exact science – there are some variables we do not control.
  • The water at the source hatchery fluctuates based on weather. The temperature I give you (and which is recorded on the 772 permit) is an average, not a constant. February had some warm days and this may have impacted the development of the eggs.
  • The eggs will develop at different rates both at the source hatchery and in classrooms. The eggs are addled (shocked) at the hatchery when a large percentage of the eggs have “eyed” and again, some will be further along the process and others a bit behind.
  • The eggs we use have undergone a process to sterilize the eggs to keep the fish from being able to reproduce. This is a new process for CDFW and for most fish hatcheries in general. It appears that triploid (sterilized) eggs develop more rapidly than do diploid (fertile) eggs.

Please keep in mind that this is an educational program on what fish need to survive. There are aspects to the process we simply do not control. This alone is a good topic for conversation with students – the fact that humans attempts to control nature have not always worked out as we had originally envisioned. For example, 60 years ago we built dams to store water and protect against floods. To mitigate the loss of habitat, hatcheries were built to make up for lost habitat. Today we find that hatcheries alone are not enough to maintain anadromous fish populations and the old models for having adequate water storage to protect against floods may not be sufficient. More than a century ago we saw burning of fossil fuels as the path to development and progress and now we face issues that may be related to the excessive burning of these fuels.

Interestingly, not all tanks are experiencing this early hatch. There is a bit of variation around the bay area despite the fact that most tanks are running at similar temperatures.

For next year, we will see if we can get eggs that are a couple of days “younger” into classrooms.

If you have questions, please let me know. You are doing a great job and if the eggs hatch early, it is not because you are doing something wrong. Sometimes we are less in control than we like to think we are.

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