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WV Wildlife: Trout in the Classroom Brook Trout Stocking

Students from Ben Franklin Career and Technical Center got to release their trout into a beautiful stream in southeastern Kanawha County recently. (WCHS/WVAH)

Beautiful sights and peaceful sounds are common in our state.

A cool, mountain stream comes to mind—but it’s importance goes well beyond its beauty and calming influence.

Our streams should be teeming with life, and most of them are—but the lesson of protecting and watching over our waterways can’t be forgotten.

That’s why the ‘Trout in the Classroom’ program is so important, and it’s more than just having a fish tank.

Roman Stauffer, Trout in the Classroom Director with the Ernie Nester Chapter of Trout Unlimited, says the program teaches the students discipline and much more.

"The Ernie Nester Chapter of Trout Unlimited, which is the Trout Unlimited Chapter in the Kanawha Valley, sponsors the Trout in the Classroom program every year. We have twenty-one schools throughout the Kanawha Valley that has an aquarium in their classroom--and every year, they raise trout from eggs through fingerling size fish. They check chemical readings in the tank, they feed the fish, they have to clean the tank", said Stauffer.

A lot of these trout eggs come from DNR hatcheries across the state, along with the federal hatchery in White Sulphur Springs.

On this day, it was Ben Franklin Career and Technical Center's turn to release some brook trout into their new home--a small, shaded stream in Southeastern Kanawha County. The students raised them at their school for several months.

Megan Bays, an English Teacher at Ben Franklin Career Center, says raising the brook trout were both educational and fun.

"I think they've all enjoyed having them in the classroom and watching them grow. One of the most important things that I hope they take away is the importance of water quality, and how important it is--not just for fisheries, but to them personally", said Bays.

"It's a lot of fun raising fish. Take a while to grow up, so I mean--they got pretty big in the last few months", said Kole Pridemore, a student at Ben Franklin Career Center.

This exposure--to the beauty of nature--may spark some career choices, too.

"They learn about math. They learn about science. They learn about the importance of water quality. They learn what trout eat”, said Stauffer.

"That's why we are here. That's why we are doing this--it's all about them", said Bays.

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