This episode is all about trout in the classroom. I knew that an occasional agriculture teacher here and there might have fish in the classroom, but I had no idea that teachers all across Wisconsin are raising trout for their local communities, including in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. It happens to be a perfect classroom for such adventures. Today you’re meeting three people. Kurt Meyer, a middle school science teacher at Fennimore Middle School, Ellen Meyer, a 7th grader in his classroom, and lastly, Scott Allen at the State Council Chair of Wisconsin Trout Unlimited. By the end of this episode, you’ll know just about everything you need to get started with trout in your own classroom.
To learn more about trout in the classroom, be sure to check our show notes, though you’ll find relevant links to Trout in the Classroom, Trout Unlimited, and funding sources to get started with trout in your Classroom.
These are photos of Kurt Meyer’s setup at Fennimore Middle School. He has two tanks, one of each side of the classroom.
Below you’ll find pictures of the kids releasing their trout this May.
Alliant Energy Community Support (Resource mentioned by Scott Allen)
[Brogley]: Alright. So thank you for the interview today. Tell me a little bit about who you are and the classes you teach here at Fennimore High School.
[K. Meyer]: My name is Kurt Meyer, and I teach middle school science and 7th grade life science and 7th grade is Earth Science, and then I teach 6th and 7th-grade math.
[Brogley]: And so I hear all these pumps running. Yes, that’s what brought me to this school. I had heard from, maybe, your Superintendent that you do work with trout in the classroom. Is that correct?
[K. Meyer]: Yes, right.
[Brogley]: Tell me more about that.
[K. Meyer]: So Trout in the Classroom is a program that is run through Trout Unlimited, which is a nonprofit organization for the conservation of cold water species. And the initial project I actually set up at N Crawford in 2016 or 2015. I got a tank going there and then when I took this job down here I got another tank going. So both tanks were funded by Trout Unlimited chapters and then the other fees that I have for like the things that I use, I usually just budget for at school. Like the testing kits and things like that. So the consumables are things that you might use every year, like testing kits, hoses, things that get grimed up, filters, filter medium, that sort of thing. So I just buy new of that every year and replace it and so.
[Brogley]: Back in North Crawford, you got that started. How long have you been here?
[K. Meyer]: Since 2017.
[Brogley]: Got it. OK, so you’ve got a couple of years kind of under your belt with this project. And so where’s trout in the classroom? Or trout? You didn’t call it that. You called it Trout Unlimited.
[K. Meyer]: Well, Trout Unlimited is just the group that’s a conservation group, and they’re affiliated with Trout in the classroom. It’s kind of to bring students and kids into the conservation movement of understanding how trout survive and they’re impacted by water quality and that sort of thing. And so because where we live and the amount of trout we have in the Driftless area, it’s, I thought it was a really good area to, you know, use this with our students.
[Brogley]: Well, it’s teaching them some concepts in science, but also actually how to impact their local. Community.
[K. Meyer]: Exactly.
[Brogley]: It’s great. It’s an authentic project, right? So what kinds of things are students learning about?
[K. Meyer]: So we spend a lot of time talking about how water quality impacts trout because they’re pretty temperamental species, and in fact, I struggled keeping a lot of mine alive when I get, I get 250 eggs to start with and I think I have like 20 fish left right now at this point in time, so. Keeping them alive is tough and especially in a closed system like we have, But we talk about water quality farming practices, just how the why is the Driftless is good for trout in this area? We talk about all the underwater aquifers and springs that we have that keep the water cold. Trout need cold water impacts that they have on the economy in our area. And the fact that most of these kids don’t realize they have this unique fishery right under
in their backyard.
[Brogley]: Yeah, right. All of the, I guess, tributaries to the Mississippi.
[K. Meyer]: Yes. And to the Wisconsin as well. Pretty much everything that flows into the Kickapoo River, the whole Blue River watershed. And then you have all the watersheds up in Vernon and those areas.
[Brogley]: So the kids also must learn about some conservation practices that they see every day, for example, water runoff from farming land.
[K. Meyer]: Yeah, we do usually a watershed activity where we put marker on top of a piece of milk card, use water-based marker and spray it with water and spritz it and then you see like how the marker runs down hillsides and. How it can end up, you know, pulling up in certain areas. And so I’ve talked about, you know, certain farming practices where you don’t want to spread manure on steep hillsides that drain into river systems. Especially don’t want to do it on top of snow because then it’s going to flow into the river systems. And just how it needs to be a balance because it’s a huge rural community and they need to be stewards and understand the importance of the watersheds that we have around here. So I talked with our kids about that. We talked about the topography, how there are so many cave systems, so much limestone, and how there are all these aquifers under the water. We take a field trip where we put the trout back into the stream. In May, we put them into Castle Rock Creek. There’s a camp campground not too far from here where DNR comes and does a shocking demo. We do a bunch of macroinvertebrate scavenger hunt where they get bugs off the rocks and they have little charts where they can circle which bugs they found. And almost they almost fill their charts up. They find just about every one of them on the chart and you know they’re. Walking around in the water and their bare feet or their Crocs and having a good time and then they get to see the stream shocked and see you know some of the amazing trout that they can get out of there. 18, 17-inch trout that you wouldn’t believe live in these waters. And then after that we actually go take them to an area where our trout and limited chapter. In this area the DNR chapter does stream restoration so they can see how they use heavy equipment to pull the banks back. So there’s not so much siltation in the river. And I talk a lot about that with the students in the classroom to how steep banks and the channeling of water. It does not allow the floodplains to expand. And so when you get a big rain storm, it basically fills up a Canyon and takes all the silt and sediment and dumps it back into the river and then that makes the river shallower and wider and slower. And then they get warmer. And so you have to make sure that there’s not. Once the water warms, you’re going to lose your trout population. Not an environment conducive for that, exactly.
[Brogley]: So let’s back up to, August how do they? I’m picturing how trout might arrive to you. What does that look like?
[K. Meyer]: I do brown trout, since that’s mostly what we have in our streams around here. There are brown trout and brook trout that are native. Brook trout are harder to get and if you want to put them back in the river you have to have pretested eggs. They have to be tested for disease so that you’re not introducing a disease into the stream. So, I get brown trout eggs that get pretested. They come from the Saint Croix hatchery up in St. Croix Falls, WI and I usually set the tanks up. Brown Trout spawn in the fall, usually mid-october to the end of November, and so they’re using wild trout for these spawns that are then hatchery-raised or taken out of the wild stream and they, you know, milk the males and get the eggs from the females. So I usually set my tank up about the first week of October and then I try to precycle it, which means you try to get it to go through the whole nitrogen process before the fish get there. But I’ve never been successful actually getting it to go through that. So once the eggs come, they have to go in the water, so. The eggs usually come about November 10th or so, and then they usually hatch within a week or so. They’re eyed eggs by the time I get them, which means you can already see. You can already see the little fish’s eyes and the eggs. And there’s only about a week or so before they hatch once I receive them and then they sit in a basket. So as they hatch their their Alvin and they basically have a yolk sack that. They feed off of for about a month and they just sit in a little basket until right around Christmas time, and that seems to be also the time when I tend to lose almost all of my fish is Christmas right around Christmas break when they’re in the basket before I transition them into the tank and let them go, I see. Like within a day or two I’ll lose a whole bunch of fish and I’m testing the water and it never seems like it’s been too far off. And then it’s it’s like very fast, very temperamental. So it’s a tough species. It yeah, it is a tough species to raise. Exactly. They’re definitely not something that can be handled a lot. They they need exactly the right kind of water quality. So what I’m hoping to do in the future. At least change a few things up is make sure I do more water changes during Christmas break and make sure I try to keep everything balanced right at the right balance and and they’ll get more survival. It’s like once I get through that weak problem where I lose all these fish and that it get it balances itself out, then I’m good. Like I haven’t had to do anything with it since probably the first week of January and they’ve been fine. I’ve lost maybe 3 fish since then
[Brogley]: And so every year are you securing funds from trout in the classroom?
[K. Meyer]: So the eggs are free. The biggest cost is the system is the chiller because you have to have something that keeps the water cool and so each system is about $1000 and half of that is the chiller and so that was actually the tank to my right is actually the tank I get was the N Crawford tank. And so the teacher that I worked with there retired last year and offered all of the equipment back to me which is not why I have two tanks so that one was paid for by TU the chiller is. The black kind of refrigerator-looking type of piece of equipment runs through chills the water, it gets pumped out and then runs through that and gets chilled and put back in. I usually keep them about 51 degrees and so that’s the most expensive part of it. The tank was about $100 and everything else you know is just nickeled and dimed, you know $30.00 that’s $20.00 this, $15 for that.
[Brogley]: So what do the kids get to do in this process?
[K. Meyer]: They do some of the water testing for me. They’ll test for ammonia, they’ll test for nitrates and nitrites. I’ll test the pH. That usually doesn’t change too much. We have really hard water here because of all the limestone, so the pH is about 8.6, which is actually better for trout than having a lower pH. So having it on the basic side is better than on the acidic side. So I don’t have to do much with that. It’s yeah, it’s mostly just the water testing, but like I said, once we get past that Christmas break time, everything’s pretty self-contained. And the biggest thing is, ’cause it’s a closed system, you’re just recycling everything through it. You have to add certain chemicals to it to keep it balanced. So I have to add bacteria into the water to try to get like ammonia to get fixed and the nitrates to get fixed, which naturally happens while in a stream. Obviously, the water that the fish are swimming in is only in front of them for a brief second and then it’s packed. So if there’s a manure spill or something in a stream and they have that whole infiltration of stuff that goes through. Yeah, you’re going to lose some fish, but fish will be able to survive that because it’s going by and as long as they are able to withstand that particular day or two of water damage, they can make it. Plants are one of the big things in nature that fix the ammonia and the nitrate problem and so I don’t have any plants in there, so I have to add the bacteria. But you have to have enough ammonia and nitrates for the bacteria to actually do its job. So it’s a big balancing point.
[Brogley]: I’m hearing you unpack or mention all sorts of concepts in science. You must have so much material on each end of this classroom.
[K. Meyer]: Well, and I tie them into so many things we talk about. We do a trout unit like right before Christmas where we talk about different trout and we talk about, you know, life cycle of trout and the Driftless and I kind of do a whole four-day like mini-lesson on just the tanks. But then throughout the year when we’re talking about cycles nitrogen cycle and water cycle. I refer back to them all the time and the different things that we’re doing. I talked about them today because we were talking about adding, you know, what do you have to add or what has to happen for nitrogen to get fixed because we were talking about soil today in my Earth science class. So I said, well, think about the trout tanks. You know what happens when the trout are putting waste in the bottom because they were talking about dumping manure on to the soil. And I said, well, the same thing happens in the tank. What does that turn into? They’re, like, “ammonia”. I said, “yeah, it’s the same thing in the soil, and that helps plants grow”. But we don’t have any plants, so we can’t get it fixed in the tank. So we have to add stuff to it. Yeah. Teaching material on both sides of you all the time. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So as you move forward into, I assume you’re going to release what’s left, right? Yeah, in May, May, Yeah. Yeah, usually mid to end of May, It’s like the last week or two of school. That we will go to Castle Rock and when we do we take the whole day and they do the bugs and the macroinvertebrates. We release the fish shocking and then we go to another stream that’s has had work done. And one of the guys I work with Don Pluemer, he does I guess you would call the architecture of the stream restorations, like he designs what they’re going to do to streams that are having work done on them. And I’m hoping and planning for him to join us and explain kind of that process. When we go to look at one of the streams we’re restoring right now, most of them are over at the Blue River watershed near Highland. So they’re learning so much about science, but also like the local environments, right? Conservation, but also community connections, sure.
[Brogley]: Does your Chamber of Commerce know you guys are doing this?
[K. Meyer]: I’m not sure if the Chamber knows. I know the Chamber was interested in partnering up with our
Trout Unlimited chapter because it is such a big economy thing here. You know, fly fishing community is not a real big community, but anybody that fly fishes knows about this area. I’ve fished all over the United States and. The few times I’ve been guided, they all have at some point in time come to the Driftless to fish. So it’s it’s definitely a very unique place because of all the public access, the ease of wading and fishing these streams, ’cause they’re small, you know, you don’t need a boat. There’s thousands and thousands of miles of water you can fish from here up to LaCrosse. You know, all these tributaries and there’s maps and locations of what public access there is, and there’s tons of public access. So yeah, it’s amazing what we have around here.
[Brogley]: Yeah, I didn’t grow up here, so when we moved down here, I didn’t either. I grew up in the central part of Wisconsin where we had lots of lakes. And down here we don’t have lakes as much other than Yellowstone or Blackhawk, but. I remarked at the number of places we could go fishing along, you know, under bridge, alongside a road, right? And even on our own property we have natural springs, another thing I had never heard of really or experienced until living in Driftless.
[K. Meyer]: Yeah, there’s some. There’s amazing little places you can go or springs just dump out of rocks. That’s the first place I actually take our group on the field trip. There’s a spring that goes into Castle Rock Creek. It comes right out from under the highway, and you wouldn’t even know it’s there. There’s actually a YouTube video of some divers that went up into the spring with their tanks in front of them because it was too skinny for them to actually have tanks on their backs. Yeah, if you’re claustrophobic, it definitely did not look like something that I would want to do. No way. Yeah. So the kids get such a rich connection or understanding to like. Our connection to water matters down here, right? Absolutely. And it’s unique and the importance of trying to keep it clean and what you can do to make it stay that way.
[Brogley]: So, and these little fish are helping it get done right. They’re little teachers too.
[K. Meyer]: Exactly.
[Brogley]: Very cool. So then the summer, I I assume you shut the tanks down over the summer?
[K. Meyer]: So as soon as as soon as we have our field trip and that’s all done and the fish are gone, I’ll drain the tanks, take all the medium out, whatever I can salvage for next year. I’ll rinse it out, clean them out to the best of my ability. I’ll either try to clean the tubes out or I’ll just get new tube for. You know, like the pumps and the chiller and the air hoses, and because there’s so much calcium and calcium buildup, a lot of it gets gunky and stuff on it, right? New filter medium, but all like the sponge type of stuff I can usually clean out pretty good. And then the the gravel, I’ll clean that all out and get as much gunk off of there as I can. And then just put it back in the tank and just set it back in there and leave it until next October. And then I fill it again and get them running.
[Brogley]: So if a teacher wanted to get started with this, but they didn’t know a lot about raising trout to begin with, how do they figure this out?
[K. Meyer]: I think their local Trout Unlimited chapter would probably be the best place to start. There are a few people that have done this. Kirk Olson was the first person I contacted. He’s up north towards, I wanna say like Bangor or like that area. There are a few tanks up there. I believe that more and more tanks have started to be have become like prevalent in the state. There were only maybe 10 or so when I started, but we. We had an e-mail this year that there’s more and more eggs that the DNR is having to give out. So I do think that it’s becoming more and more popular in the classroom. How big are these tanks? They’re 50-gallon tanks.
[Brogley]: I was picturing much, much, much bigger system. Oh, really? Like, this is manageable to me?
[K. Meyer]: Yeah, in a classroom because they don’t, you know, the trout to only get maybe 2 inches long by the time they’re ready to be put back into the river systems, which is about the size that they are in nature, yeah, at that point in time because they hatch, you know, they’ll hatch in January or so and in November or December or January and so by the time you get to May, they’re about, yeah, two inches, inches, 3 inches long.
[Brogley]: And so if I were to look something up online, would I go to. Trout Unlimited and Trout in the Classroom?
[K. Meyer]: There is a there is a separate Trout in the classroom website so you can go into that and it has there’s videos and there are lesson plans and there is stuff for kids. I used YouTube a lot for when I was first learning how to set up the systems there. There were YouTube videos on how to know not all the systems are the same like people have different chiller systems and. It’s really big on the East Coast. That’s where I seem to find most of the information is coming from Maryland and that area. And they do mostly rainbow trout or salmon. Some do salmon in the classroom. So they have different systems. But basically, the process is about the same. Yeah, you just need to run water through something that’s going to make it cold.
[Brogley]: Next, let’s meet Ellen, a 7th grader at Fenimore Middle School, for her perspective.
[Brogley]: You are a student in Mr. Meyer’s class.
[E. Meyer]: Yes.
[Brogley]: What’s your name and what grade are you in?
[E. Meyer]: My name is Ellen Meyer, and I’m in 7th grade.
[Brogley]: And so you’re studying all sorts of things in science class. Talk to me about what it’s been like to have baby trout in the classroom.
[E. Meyer]: When they first arrived, everybody was like very like wondering like what is that? What are they going to turn into? And it’s just been kind of cool to see them grow. And we won’t release them for about another month-ish. But once we do, then we’ll get to let them go and see how many of them make it and what are some of the things that you’ve been learning or discussing so. We went a while ago, like right before Christmas we did some trial anatomy stuff and like, learned about the dorsal fins and all sorts of stuff, like how they, with their water temperature, what kind of just what they eat and what they need to survive the life cycle.
[Brogley]: And so then eventually you’re going to turn them loose, right? Yeah. So how do you think this project has impacted kind of your thinking about the environment?
[E. Meyer]: I go with him to the like some of their Trout Unlimited, like, gatherings. And it’s interesting to see and hear about all of the like how important it is to keep the rivers or and streams clean to make sure that they have a good like quality of life.
[Brogley]: Yeah, right. To live. Yeah. And so you’re learning here in school how to actually be, like advocates, right?
[Brogley]: Yeah. Like to do something good for your world, your community. Very cool.
[Transition to Scott Allen]:
[Brogley]: So thanks Scott for taking some time to meet with me today. I had interviewed Kurt Meyer from Fenimore School district a while back and he shared with me his experience raising trout in the classroom. But he referenced Trout Unlimited a couple times and I didn’t quite understand the connection. I thought it would be a great opportunity to interview you to kind of bridge that, that gap of knowledge. So can you help me out? Well, first of all, let’s talk about who are you and then what is Trout Unlimited?
[S. Allen]: My name is Scott Allen. I’m the State Council chair of Wisconsin Trout Limited. We have 6500 members in Wisconsin. We’re mostly volunteers. I’m a volunteer. We do have a professional staff in Wisconsin of about 6 employees that are around the state. They’re assigned habitat projects with trout streams. So right now they’re out in the field with hard hats on. It’s our job to kind of organize those events and raise the money for it, that’s how we relate with the professional staff. But we do a lot more than just fundraising. Trout Unlimited is a cold water conservation organization. That is devoted to primarily protecting our groundwaters because that’s what trout streams rely upon. We’re concerned about all water quality, but we can’t do it all, so our niche is cold water. We’re also a community services organization. We have quite a few community service organizations. Trout in the Classroom is one of them. We have veterans programs that helps disabled veterans. We have cancer survivor programs for both women and men who are recovering from cancer. We of course have youth programs throughout the classroom. We have a summer youth camp which is approaching. Kids can attend fishing camp in Waupaca free of charge. And we have diversity programs to reach out to women. You know, frankly, fishing is kind of a man’s domain and we want to get rid of that. So we reach out to women and to minorities by providing them with instruction and opportunities to get outdoors. So we do a lot. We’re all spread pretty thin.
[Brogley]: Trout Unlimited across the state of Wisconsin, isn’t it?
[S. Allen]: Correct. Well, it’s nationwide. We’re a nationwide organization. We’ve got about 200,000 members nationwide. Yeah, which interestingly that’s, that sounds like a big number. But we’re one of the smaller conservation groups. So we’re not a great big organization. We’re a very grassroots organization. It relies heavily on volunteers. Yeah.
[Brogley]: And so the Driftless region is packed with all sorts of opportunities for trout fishing, and I have always known that. However, I didn’t really. I didn’t realize that there were opportunities to help support the waterways, say, in the classroom. And that’s where trout in the classroom comes in. And. I remember seeing grant opportunities and just information floating on social media about trout in the classroom, and that’s why I went to meet Kurt. Why begin a Trout in the Classroom project?
[S. Allen]: Well, you know, I’m no authority on education, but it falls under the STEM model of curriculum and it’s a great science opportunity for teaching kids. I guess I put it under the umbrella of Natural History, getting them outdoors and beginning to understand that science isn’t necessarily focusing on a single Organism, that there are communities of organisms that are interdependent. And we’re not just concerned about a species of fish, we’re concerned about the community that that fish lives in and lies upon. And it’s a good opportunity for kids to actually get outdoors see it first hand and it’s a they can see it from, I hate to use the phrase cradle to grave, meaning they literally see the fish born and they see that they don’t see the grave, but they see the fish released and they get to experience a major portion of the life cycle of an aquatic Organism and. Yeah. So it’s experiential And those types of education, as we all know, they really stick with you, The experiential types.
[Brogley]: Yeah. And I would think it helps kids understand their connection to the Driftlesss in this corner of the state anyway.
[S. Allen]: Yeah.
[Brogley]: And the importance of clean water.
[S. Allen]: Yeah, absolutely.
[Brogley]: And so if a teacher wants to get started. Raising trout or learning about conservation habitats, etcetera, How do they find funding for that? I would imagine that there’s a financial barrier to some degree. Is there a way to remove that or help alleviate that for a teacher who might want to get started?
[S. Allen]: Well, I’ve been active I I started the classroom. Two classrooms here in Reedsburg in 2015 and it it was about $2000 to set up the aquariums in in the classroom $1000 each. Alliant Energy has been very generous with community grants for this type of program. I’ve worked with other teachers, just helping them get the funding and get things up and going. I didn’t really have a hand in their classroom, but they’re all given grants from Alliance, so that’s, you know, we have a perfect batting average with Alliance, at least up here. So that’s really the only grant provider that I’ve worked with. But in the four instances where we’ve applied to Alliance, they gave us the full amount we requested. Which was $2000. And I’m sure there are many other grant opportunities available for youth education out there. I don’t think it would require too much research on the Internet to find those opportunities, but I just haven’t had the need because of Alliance generosity. I just haven’t had the need to do it, fortunately.
[Brogley]: So basically teachers should be looking in their own community for grants and I would think that I could see community foundations, Chamber of Commerce etcetera, because we’re, you know obviously we’re doing work that benefits the community and just might bring more people to the area tourist wise or just connections to the community. So one of the apprehensions I think teachers would, some teachers might feel is that they don’t necessarily know what they’re doing. If they want, you know, a science teacher, for example, or it’s not their strength in that area, where can they learn more about trout in the classroom and how to be successful? I’ve heard that they’re it’s hard, it’s hard to raise them. So how do they learn about how to do that?
[S. Allen]: Trout Unlimited has a dedicated website, outintheclassroom.org. I did, by the way, send you a link to that just a few minutes ago, but as well as the Alliance Grant opportunities, so that’s it’s in your inbox. Trout in the classroom.org will walk you through it from start to finish. I haven’t looked at it closely lately, but when I was first starting off, they had a community forum where people could share their experiences and the problems and how to address the problems. Because these aquariums with the trout in them, the trout are very sensitive to the water chemistry. Although I’m a fisherman and my background is in environmental chemistry.
I was totally new to this, and in the beginning I didn’t know what I was doing, you know? And the information on the website was very helpful. And that same website fromtheclassroom.org has a curriculum on there A lot of the teachers can follow, either in part or in whole, which I think is pretty important to at least read through it. You don’t need to be a biologist. Well, in fact, we work in concert with our local DNR fisheries biologist and they’re the pros and they’re more than happy to take over and provide your class with visits and that’s who we go out into the field with, as with the DNR biologist and yeah, it’s a lot of fun. So much fun that we almost have as many parents coming as the kids. A lot of dads, a lot of dads come out, Boy, they hear about that, that we’re going to a trout stream and the DNR biologists are going to do a survey of the stream. They’re netting fish and measuring the fish and showing the kids also what they do for an occupation, that this is maybe a career choice for some people, of course, a lot of. Not just boys anymore. Boys and girls are really riveted by that. And so back to your question about where does the teacher start, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. There’s there’s a lot of information there. There’s a lot of teachers doing it in Wisconsin right now. I don’t have an exact account. I would say there’s. Probably close to 200 classrooms in Wisconsin. Now up here in our county, we’ve got about 8 to 10 classrooms. Yeah, there’s a lot more than I thought in the state of Wisconsin.
[Brogley]: That’s great. In fact, it took off so quickly. We have to work closely with DNR on this because the fish are coming from the fish hatcheries. There’s a whole licensing procedure that’s required. And they were suddenly like over a two to three-year. I wouldn’t say overwhelmed. Well, maybe their staff was overwhelmed with all these requests from classrooms. And DNR is very enthusiastic about this program. It’s it puts their Bureau of Fisheries in a whole new spotlight that is youth education. Which is something they never thought they’d be in a good way. They’re happy to be there, and they’re very helpful.
[S. Allen]: I did mention licensing. What’s interesting about this, that again, I didn’t know anything about this. We had to become a licensed fish farm to raise these trout in our aquarium, which you must be. Part of the whole procedure is we take these fish, once they reach a certain age, it’s usually around may we take them out to a trout stream and the kids get to let them go, you know, which is fun, but you have to be licensed to do that. It ensures the fish are basically are diseasefree, it ensures they are not invasive species and that’s it’s a very critical and important licensing process. That kind of threw us for a loop the first two years, but now they have people in DNR who are familiar with the program and it really streamlined the process.
[Brogley]: So you’re saying the school has to be licensed to raise?
[S. Allen]: Yeah. It’s not a big deal anymore. It was at first.
[Brogley]: Sounds like it.
[S. Allen]: Yeah, just to raise 20 little rainbow trout.
[Brogley]: Awesome. Is there anything else that you would want to share?
[S. Allen]: Oh gosh, about trout in the classroom? I think the one thing I would share is that some of the classrooms I worked with, it really didn’t amount to more than the kids got a chance to see the fish being raised and then it was a field trip and we have a whole curriculum available. It doesn’t mean the teacher has the time or the resources, or that even fits their school’s curriculum, but we do have a very good material that can be applied to the setting of a trout aquarium in your classroom, and some of them didn’t do that. They don’t have to, but I think if you pay close attention to the curriculum, I think the kids will get a lot more out of it. So the resources are there. Teachers need to dive into it.
[Brogley]: Yeah, it’s a sounds like a quite an interdisciplinary experience for a kid, for a class, for a teacher. Awesome.
[S. Allen]: And Trout and Limited’s role is really to, if a teacher is interested in this, to work with them to get things up and going to kind of play the role of a liaison between DNR and cuz we’re very we know the DNR people very well and once things get. Moving along after one or two years, we’re always there to help. We’re primarily there for funding if they need more money for supplies. But by the 2nd year, the teacher probably doesn’t need our assistance anymore, which is good. So that’s our role.