By now, most of you have eggs (or fish) in your classroom. Most of you are fortunate to have a coach who delivers the sweet bundle directly to your classroom. Some of you pick up your package of eggs from a hatchery or other site.
These eggs have made a long and complex journey to reach your classroom – one involving both natural and human made systems. Here a bit of information on what it takes to get these precious eggs into your classroom.
Adult fish are spawned in a hatchery – rainbow trout come from the Mt. Shasta Hatchery in Northern California and the steelhead from the Warm Springs Hatchery in Sonoma County. The eggs are allowed to develop for about 35 days until they develop the eye spot. At this point the eggs are addled to help remove weaker eggs. Rainbow trout eggs are then ready to be transferred from the source hatchery to the Silverado Fisheries Base in Napa. The eggs are then carefully counted, bundled and wrapped, ready for delivery to your classroom.
Meanwhile, your application is being processed to ensure only teachers who have completed the required training and have successfully completed the program in the past receive eggs.
Your sponsor picks up the eggs and your permit either from the hatchery or a centralized meeting spot (e.g. Berkeley marina) and the eggs are delivered to your classroom. This is a fun and amazing process to watch as groups of coaches, most of them fly-fishers, meet to collect the exact number of egg packages, match these to your permit, place them carefully in ice chests and zoom off to classrooms all around the greater Bay Area.
It is a large and complex system involving 3 hatcheries, 380 classrooms, 30 sponsor/support organizations, and a gaggle of CDFW staff. Eggs are sent as far as Watsonville, Mendocino County, Lake County, and Tracy – not to mention the 9 Bay Area Counties.
All of this is done because the people behind the scenes believe in you and your ability as a classroom teacher to help students learn the value of quality habitat and how individual actions can impact the survival of wildlife.
The Classroom Aquarium Education Program in the San Francisco Bay Area is the single largest program of its kind in the entire United States. We have enjoyed tremendous environmental successes over the past decades and programs such as this and teachers such as you deserve a fair share of the credit.