Trout in the Classroom

Mike Jacobs and John Frankot

The Elliott Donnelley Chapter of Trout Unlimited has two Trout in the Classroom Programs for the 2012-2013 school year. Trout in the Classroom is an environmental education program in which students grades k-8 raise trout from eggs to fry; monitor tank water quality; engage in stream habitat study; learn to appreciate water resources; begin to foster a conservation ethic; and grow to understand ecosystems. The programs will conclude with the students releasing their trout into the Lake Michigan watershed at Loyola Park (Touhy & Sheridan) in conjunction with their Earth Day activities.

The first program is located at St. Margaret Mary School in Chicago. Ron Miller, a St. Margaret Mary School teacher, is the school manager for the SMM tank. The students are raising approximately 150 rainbow trout. EDTU members Jim Tingey and Mike Jacobs discuss with the SMM students the ecology of the trout tank and how it correlates to our real world lakes, streams and rivers. Discussions about the water environment and the relationship between the various bacteria and chemicals present in the tank are necessary for the students to understand and make connections to the survival of trout. Dave Cozzolino of Wilmette Pet has generously provided his expert guidance as well as the supplies at cost. Jennifer Stec, St. Margaret Mary School teacher, has already begun trout art projects with each grade.

To see what the chemical levels in the SMM tank currently are, click on the following website:
To see what the fish are currently doing in the SMM tank, click on the following webcam:

The second Trout in the Classroom program is located at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Lower School science teacher and department chair James Audrain and science teacher Heather Horton are working with Parker parent and EDTU member John Frankot to share the trout learning experience with lower and intermediate school students In particular focusing the efforts of 3rd grade students to welcome in this inaugural year of the Trout in the Classroom Program at Parker. Third graders have a tradition of caring for and studying science classroom animals and the trout have been an outstanding addition to further diversify student learning. This work is the foundation of a conservation mindset that students will continue to learn and build upon as they progress through their Parker education. Many thanks to Ian Schakowsky, owner of Old Town Aquarium, for his generous support of this program at Parker. Old Town Aquarium provides expert guidance and maintenance, and generously provided equipment and supplies at cost for the program.

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