Teaching fish to swim | NevadaAppeal.com

Teaching fish to swim

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

After raising trout for nearly three months, science students released their classroom pets into the Carson River on Friday.

“I was happy because now they get to be free,” said Julia Lopez, 13. “It was cool.”

While in Riverview Park to release the fish, the 130 Eagle Valley Middle School seventh-graders divided into smaller groups to complete a scavenger hunt.

Ashley Merriner, 13, and her seven teammates nearly completed the list.

“We got everything but we couldn’t answer one question: the scientific name for the mustang,” she said. “We couldn’t find it anywhere.”

The highlight of 13-year-old Martin Sosa’s search was finding a rabbit pellet.

“It was very hard to find, but I found it in a bush by the side of the trail,” he said.

He used a plastic bag provided by the park for picking up dog dung to collect the specimen.

Five seventh-grade science classes participated in the project where officials from the Department of Wildlife supply trout eggs to be raised in the classroom.

Once the fish hatch, they swim up out of the rocks and students must keep them fed.

“It was tight,” said Enrique Aguilar, 14. “We got to watch the fish change.”

They started out with about 100 fish but only about 50 survived to be released into the river when they were nearly two inches long.

“That’s why fish lay hundreds of eggs,” science teacher Chris Whitcome explained. “Lots of things happen and they can die.”

Whitcome hopes the lessons learned now will serve the students later.

“It teaches them about living things and gives them an appreciation for wildlife,” she said. “The kids will hopefully grow up to be respectful of the environment and somewhere down the line, they can make informed decisions at the ballot box.”

The fish in the classroom is also sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management and the Reno, Carson City and Douglas County fly fishing clubs.