Thoughts On Hatching Fish…one educator to another

Dear Teacher,

I write to you as a former classroom teacher who is most recently working with Fish and Wildlife. I’d like to share my thoughts with you about Trout in the Classroom, and why you may want to try hatching trout fry with your students.

All of us remember having that special classroom where living critters brought animation and daily excitement to school. Maybe it was silkworms fattening up on leaves to spin their cocoons, or, perhaps, reptiles in a terrarium, or even a mammal with shavings on the cage bottom. Sometimes there were chores assigned to keep the exhibit clean and tidy. Whatever kind of living thing it was – it stimulated our interest, provoked questions, and otherwise made the learning environment a fun place to be.

Imagine presenting your students with a group of eyed eggs! These are small, beautiful orange eggs from a fish hatchery where native California trout are spawned! The ‘eyed’ appearance is evidence of a fertilized, developing egg that your class can experience “hatching out” into tiny free swimming larval fish known as alevin. Then, absorbing that ‘yolk sac’ and being ready for release into approved lakes or ponds. alevin

Know that the lessons you share to meet science standards about features of physiology (body systems) or relationships in an ecosystem (matter and energy) or on the chemistry of life (carbon cycle, respiration) will be received in a whole new way with the addition of a classroom aquarium project.

As a teacher, your ability to make the lessons flow where you want them to go is of primary importance. Many of us are interested in drawing parallels between salmonids that live out their life history in ‘landlocked’ aquatic systems with those of anadromous life history that must spend time in marine habitats as a part of their migration to and from stream of birth.

We at Fish and Wildlife are also united with you in reinforcing the concept of stewardship with California’s students. We’d like to help! Won’t you join us?

David Moore, Interpretive Services, david.moore@wildlife.ca.gov

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About Ethan Rotman

Ethan Rotman (Bayareatic) manages and coordinates programs that hatch fish in classrooms for the San Francisco Bay Area. He also chairs the committee that manages these programs throughout the state. Ethan has worked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for over 20 years.
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