Students will watch rainbow trout hatch in their classroom | NevadaAppeal.com

Students will watch rainbow trout hatch in their classroom

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
photos by Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Juliana Nuñez, 8, drops trout eggs into a fish tank in Lori Tureson's second-grade class at Fritsch Elementary Wednesday. The class is raising rainbow trout from eggs and will release them into the Carson River after they hatch and grow into fry, or juvenile fish.
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Juliana Nuñez turned her hand over and let trout eggs fall gently into the water.

The 7-year-old watched as the peachy-colored eggs, about an eighth of an inch in diameter, sank slowly through the fish tank before settling in the rocks on the bottom.

And still she watched.

“I thought they would crack when they hit the bottom,” Juliana said.

But the rainbow trout eggs, all 250 that students in Lori Tureson’s second-grade class put in their fish tank last week, are expected to take up to six days to hatch. That could be today.

Tureson warned her students not to squish the eggs in their hands and advised them to drop them slowly into the tank.

“If you look at them very carefully, you’ll see them wiggle,” she said.

The class had discussed reasons for raising the trout, listed by Tureson on a whiteboard: Giving people something to fish for, repopulating the river with trout, learning to appreciate the trout, witnessing the life cycle of a fish, and helping Mother Nature.

Tureson, who has been doing the Nevada Division of Wildlife trout project for six years, says the project, which is usually for older students, makes an impression on her students.

“They know more about nature and have a deeper respect and caring for animals after this,” she said. “At the end of the day, they won’t even step on an ant.”

After dropping the eggs into the tank, a large box was placed over it to protect the eggs from light. The box was decorated with a blue background with tiny fish and seaweed.

“They can’t see any light, or they’ll die,” said 7-year-old Conor Croskery. “The eggs are really sensitive.”

Students received trout journals to track development. The trout need to be fed after they hatch from their eggs and become juvenile fish, called fry.

“It’s going to be exciting to see them grow because we’ll see them move from stage to stage,” said Jenna Wong-Fortunato, 8.

After studying the trout in the fry stage, the students will get in a bus and take their fish to the Carson River for release. Tureson expects 150-200 of them will survive through to release.

“It feels really very good (what we’re doing) ’cause we’re restoring eggs,” said Juliana. “I’m really proud. They’ll wake up to be trout.”

This year, another second-grade teacher at the school, Regina Ford, is also raising trout with her students. They will release their fish into the river, too.

“I had to fight to get second-graders into this program,” said Tureson. “They said second-graders don’t have the capacity to learn and understand what’s going on.”

But she believes second grade is a great age for the project because students are so attentive.

“Tears are shed when the fish are let go,” she said.

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