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The great escape

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Jordann Diaz, 7, holds four Tasmanian rainbow trout just before releasing them into the Carson River. Fritsch second-graders released about 125 fry into the river near the Ambrose Recreation Area on Wednesday.
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Vanessa Suazo looked down near her boots, the clear waters of the Carson River running over them just above ankle level. Suddenly, she saw something wiggle near her left foot. It was one of the tiny three trout fry she just released into the water. Thrilled, she cried out “There it is, there it is!” she said pointing near her foot. “It’s over here. It’s over here!”

And she watched the fry, a juvenile fish, until she could see it no more.

“It loves you!” a nearby classmate yelled out.

Be it a time of love or a time of sadness or simply a time to stand in their boots in the Carson River, students from Lori Tureson’s Fritsch Elementary School second-grade class were at Ambrose Recreation Center to release some 125 trout they grew in their classroom under the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s “Trout in the Classroom” program.

About 70 elementary-level classes in Reno, Carson City, Gardnerville and Winnemucca participate each year. NDOW gives classes a tank with about 200 eggs, about 125 are successfully raised to the fry stage.

“(The program) is part of the learning process about the cycle of life,” said Chris Vasey, NDOW regional outdoor education coordinator. “It gives students an idea about what it takes for trout to survive.”

For the past two months the trout have been in Tureson’s classroom. Student Ariana Arias was in charge of their feeding, a task she took pretty seriously.

“We fed them bugs, and when we were all out, we fed them some brine shrimp,” she said “Then when we were out of those, we fed some them other fish food.”

The Trout in the Classroom program started years ago with the support of local flyfishing clubs. The Nevada Department of Wildlife took the program over and now receives sponsorship from many of those same organizations.

“We’re really sad to let (the trout) go,” Ariana said. “We’ve had them for such a long time, and we raised them from eggs until fry, and we’re really sad we’re releasing them.”

Tureson said, “I asked the kids when they got the eggs if this was important to them, and they said no. I asked them again today, and they said they don’t want to let them go.”

Vanessa had some final thoughts about the tiny three fry she released into the Carson River waters.

“I hope they live nice and stay warm.”

For information on Trout in the Classroom, go to ndow.org and click on the education link.

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.