SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Keeping track of our pets as they grow has many challenges. Well, how about raising over 100 fish?
Raising dozens of trout from egg to fingerling was the goal for 100 Schuylkill County students, and on Wednesday, they got to release them in the wild.
Wednesday morning, over a hundred students from Schuylkill Haven Area High School released classroom-raised rainbow trout into Bear Creek in Schuylkill County.
“The Trout Release Program for Trout Release Committee in school. It’s a great program where we raise trout as the students we all learn how to do it. We basically do all the work,” described Schuylkill Haven Area High School student Kyle Lipp.
That means they kept the fish fed and happy every day at school since January.
“So, we started initially with around 150. Today, we are releasing 117. So, that’s a pretty good survival rate for not being in nature,” said Schuylkill Haven Area High School student Sara Grace Minnig.
The program was started at the school several years ago by biology professor Kaye Schwenk, whose daughter gave her the idea.
“It is the Pennsylvania Trout in Classroom Program, through the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. She suggested I start it because she knows how passionate I am about the environment,” explained Schwenk.
The day isn’t just about the fish though. After releasing the fingerlings and 50 adult trout, the students broke up into groups to learn about different types of environmental conservation and outdoor activities.
“Pennsylvania is great for outdoor activities, but we also have to understand our role in sustaining the environment and conserving it,” stated Schwenk.
“You learn how to cast fishing rods, shoot archery, tie different fishing lines, fly fish. They really want you to get involved in the community and know what you’re doing when you’re outdoors,” summarized Schuylkill Haven Area High School student Reese Felty.
Helping reconnect students to what’s right outside their classroom window.
“Hands on attributes to this program, you just can’t ask for anything better,” said Felty.
The survival rate in the wild is about two percent, with the classroom raised fish this year hitting a high 78% survival rate.