On October 13, 2016 Hillary Grez from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) met with Inland Empire Resource Conservation District (IERCD) staff members Jasmine Orozco and Eric Chan to discuss the opportunity to sponsor the Trout in the Classroom program for teachers within IERCD’s service area.The meeting was incredibly productive and initiated the first pilot year in which IERCD would select teachers to host Rainbow Trout in their classroom.
The origin of these programs began in the late 70’s in British Columbia and due to the nature of the educational experience it began to be replicated in Washington, Oregon, and here in California. The Classroom Aquarium Education Program, known regionally as Trout in the Classroom, is regulated by CDFW. CDFW supplies the sterile(triploid) trout eggs to the classrooms and partners with sponsors to provide the necessary equipment and support for teachers. The goals of the Trout in the Classroom Program are to introduce students to aquatic environments and to instill a sense of responsibility for natural habitats. CDFW selects triploid trout eggs from hatcheries in order to minimize impacts to existing aquatic environments.
Ryan Edwards, AP Environmental Science Teacher, at Etiwanda High School was selected to host the first delivery of Rainbow Trout in IERCD’s pilot program. He is an avid fisherman and wildlife enthusiast. His classroom is filled with terrariums with creatures that slither and hop. He was an ideal candidate for this program and was excited to receive his eggs on January 20th, 2017. He received training from CDFW and supplies and classroom presentations from IERCD.
When the Rainbow Trout reached their fingerling stage they were released on March 20th, 2017. During the release event staff members from IERCD, Inland Empire Waterkeeper, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife lead seven stations to educate the students on healthy habitats. The stations included: release of the trout, wildlife, plant life, aquatic entomology, anatomy/dissection, casting, and water quality sampling.
The hope is to continue the program and allow other teachers throughout IERCD’s large service area an opportunity to produce more environmentally educated students with authentic experiences caring for wildlife.
Click here for more photos!