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Teaching The Teachers About 'Trout In The Classroom'



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Teaching The Teachers About ‘Trout In The Classroom’

By Kendra Bobowick

Environmentalists are tempting teachers to figure out what to do with “Trout in the Classroom.”

A new initiative supported by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) draws attention to a Trout Unlimited (TU) environmental awareness program.

Department Commissioner Gina McCarthy will address schoolteachers of all grade levels on February 17 during “All Connecticut Trout Unlimited Day” (ACTUD) at 9 am at Yale University, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

“The things we do are fleeting if we don’t teach today’s children to protect resources,” said local Trout Unlimited Candlewood Valley chapter President James Belden as he began to explain the upcoming program’s importance.

“We feel youth education is a critical piece of our mission,” he said, speaking about TU’s initiatives both locally and nationally. The mission regards restoring, protecting, and conserving cold-water fish and their watersheds, Mr Belden said. “It’s [important] to teach them the value of things and it benefits generations to come — we’re investing in our future,” he said. Aside from students are the instructors trusted to implement the lessons.

“This takes care and initiative from our teachers,” he said.

“All Connecticut Trout Unlimited Day” will offer the opportunity for TU members to share conservation experience and know-how with each other and the public.

The morning session of ACTUD will conclude with a workshop for teachers regarding “Trout in the Classroom,” Trout Unlimited’s flagship youth outreach program.

Ready with the details of “Trout in the Classroom,” Mr Belden explained, “It’s an educational program connecting the students with clean water and the organisms that need clean water to live.” In the fall the students receive trout eggs, which they care for until the fish become fingerlings, which they release in the spring.

Water temperatures, feeding, and chemical levels all factor into the fish eggs’ survival. Depending on the age group, various lessons can revolve around the fish, Mr Belden explained. “This connects them to keeping these little organisms alive,” he said.

This year, Reed Intermediate School received a tank, and he hopes to start a second program at St Rose School next year.

What might teachers and students want to know about Newtown’s trout habitat and climate?

“We have a big job,” Mr Belden said. “The good news is that we have wonderful natural resources. With the good news comes the bad, however.

“Our [natural resources] are in dire need of protection, more so every day.”

“Trout in the Classroom” has been well received by the state’s teachers and educators’ participation has increased from one classroom during the 2005-2006 school year to 22 classrooms in 2006-07.

Trout Unlimited is a national environmental protection organization with a mission to conserve, protect, and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and watersheds.

The conference is free and lunch is included. Interested guests may RSVP by mailing actud07@cttrout.org. Visit the website, www.cttrout.org for further information, schedules, directions, and parking information, or call Bill Blaufuss, chairman of Trout Unlimited, Connecticut at 856-2004.

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