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Friday, April 18, 2014

McKean County Regional Trout In The Classroom Event

McKean County Regional Trout In The Classroom Event
Students Release Brook Trout

This week, Kane High School and Smethport Elementary and High Schools released brook trout fingerling that they have been raising as part of Pennsylvania Trout In the Classroom program. The McKean County Conservation District partnered with the schools to coordinate this event and helped release the fingerlings in Twomile Run at Wildcat Park in Ludlow. This is the end of a yearlong adventure for the students, who have been raising the trout from eggs as part of the TIC program. The students released the fish and also learned about aquatic invasive species, fly casting, stream ecology, and water quality.

TIC is an interdisciplinary program that introduces coldwater conservation education in Pennsylvania schools by raising brook trout, a native coldwater species, from eggs to fingerlings. Throughout the school year, the students monitored and recorded aquarium water quality and trout behavior. The program exists statewide due to a partnership between the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the support of Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Students cared for the trout on a daily basis, while their teachers, Mr. Jason Barner (Kane), Mr. Kurt Weaver (Smethport Elementary), and Mrs. Christine Lightner (Smethport High School), incorporated coldwater education lessons into the classroom. The Conservation District is a program partner that assists the classroom with technical support and engaging the students through environmental education.

The program is designed to foster awareness and knowledge about coldwater conservation for grades 3-12 and to encourage continued participation in conservation, management and recreational programs. There are also active programs in Port Allegany, Otto-Eldred, and Bradford High Schools.

The project was also sponsored by the Seneca Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Conservation District, the Kinzua Fish and Wildlife Association, and Seneca Chapter of TU. Wildcat Park, Penn State Extension, the PA Fish and Boat Commission, PA Trout Unlimited, Seneca Trout Unlimited, and the Allegheny National Forest provided additional support for this event.

To help with local TIC programs please contact Heather McKean at the McKean County Conservation District.

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