Science Students Raise Rainbow Trout

For the second year Dr. Mark Nebzydoski and his students are raising rainbow trout through the Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom Program. PATIC is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on connecting students with Pennsylvania’s Coldwater resources. The program offers students and teachers the opportunity to observe the life cycle of trout firsthand while raising them in the classroom from eggs to fingerlings.

The program is partnered with the Local Trout Unlimited Club Pike – Wayne Trout Unlimited Chapter #462 Trout Unlimited has chapters throughout the state. The PATIC program offers educational connections not only related to the trout life cycle, but also a wealth of additional topics related to PA’s Coldwater resources. The topics can include: aquatic ecology, management practices concerning conservation and preservation, current and historical ecological threats, enhancement opportunities and strategies, and recreational opportunities.

The students in Nebzydoski’s general science classes have been working to raise the fish this school year. They feed them and document and analyze their environment which is a large tank kept at a temperature of 52 degrees in the classroom which the students also work to keep clean.  Nebzydoski explained that the fish cannot digest their food unless they are very cold. The program would not have been possible without funding for a chiller to keep the tank at this temperature.  The Wayne County Community Foundation approved a grant for the purchase of a chiller.

“Our students are studying the life cycle of trout,” he said.

To start the project, he received the fish tank and the trout in a bag in the form of eggs (about 150 of them) that had not hatched yet.  By the spring, the trout will have grown anywhere from one to three inches long and will be ready for release in their natural environment.  The students will also participate in a webinar with the Pennsylvania Trout Commission in the spring before letting them go.

Nebzydoski will then take the classes on a field trip to Varden to release the fish they raised throughout the school year.

“It’s great to give our students hands-on real-life experience with the subject they are studying,” he said.  “The students really enjoyed this project last year, and I look forward to giving this year’s general science students the same experience.”

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