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Brooklyn Tech students release juvenile trout into streams

April 14, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Thirty-seven students from Brooklyn Technical High School on Tuesday joined the city Department of Environmental Protection, Trout Unlimited and the Watershed Agricultural Council to release juvenile trout that the students have raised in their Fort Greene classrooms since October of last year.  

Nearly 120 fingerlings (a term referring to juvenile fish that are about the size of a finger) were released into the Cross River where it passes through the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester County.  The Cross River feeds into New York City’s Cross River Reservoir.

Since 2002, DEP and Trout Unlimited, a national grassroots non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve, protect, and restore North America’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds, have worked together to educate students from New York City and watershed communities about the importance of protecting our shared water resources through the Trout in the Classroom program. 

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The conservation-oriented environmental education program teaches young New Yorkers, ranging from pre-K to grade 12, about the connections between trout, the New York City water supply system, water quality, and students from both sides of the city’s water tunnels. New York City has at least 10 reservoirs into which the DEP stocks trout or salmon.

Many of the schools participating in the Trout in the Classroom program also receive support from watershed partner organizations, including the Watershed Agricultural Council, which provides watershed forestry bus tour grants to schools visiting the New York City Watershed.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program adopted a hybrid approach.  Schools that were able to opt into raising trout in their classroom were provided eggs while virtual programs, resources, and a live feed of a trout tank at the Trailside Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, located in NYC’s East of Hudson Watershed, were offered to all other participating schools.  

The virtual check-ins were titled Trout Tuesdays and Think Tank Thursdays.  The blended programming was very successful, with participating schools receiving eggs from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Cold Spring Harbor Hatchery.  

The tiny “fingerling” trout that these two Brooklyn Tech students are carrying will grow much bigger once they are released into the Cross River. Photo courtesy of NYC DEP

And, with the virtual learning component, students watched educational videos/blogs, followed the virtual tank, and participated in virtual field trips.  Additionally, staff and teachers who were able to release their trout, documented the experience through videos, photographs, and collages to share with students who were unable to attend in-person field trips.

This year, thousands of students from schools in New York City and the upstate watersheds incubated trout eggs in their classrooms and raised them into juvenile trout.

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