Trout in the Classroom

Contact program director Dick Scordato, richard.scordato@gmail.com, for more information.

What is Trout in the Classroom?

"Trout in the Classroom" is an environmental program which helps teach young people about trout and the environment in which they live through the process of raising trout from eggs. TIC was started by the late Joan Stoliar and the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers (TGF) of New York City. The program in New York is six years old and the Croton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited (CWCTU) has been involved with and sponsored it for five years now. 

How does the program work?

Eggs are sent to schools by the New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) in the fall along with trout food. The students watch them hatch into fish and care for them until spring, when the students release the fish into local streams. Students learn first hand about fish development, various areas of science and the environment, responsibility, as well as gaining a respect for living things. Environmental organizations, like CWCTU, assist interested teachers/schools both with the equipment they need to get started and with various on-going supplies. It is hoped that schools can help match some of the expenses so that organizations like CWCTU can stretch their funding dollars and involve more schools. At present, CWCTU sponsors twenty schools in Westchester and Putnam counties. There are more than 60 schools involved in the program within the New York metropolitan area.

How much does it cost?

There is no cost to the school - CWCTU sponsors this program. The start-up equipment costs approximately twelve hundred dollars. This mostly includes a chiller (the single highest costing item, at $650 or so), an aquarium, a filtration system, an aerator/pump, gravel and an aquarium cover. Additional supplies include an egg incubator, replacements filters, chemicals, buckets, water containers, dip net, turkey baster, cleaning brush, thermometer, water testing kit, siphon, etc. Not included is the cost for electrical power and transportation to the release site.

What should I know?

As in real life, the important factors are keeping the fish fed and the water clean, cold (58° - 62° F is ideal) and well oxygenated. Difficulties arise during weekends, school holidays and vacation breaks when no students may be on hand to care for the fish. Finding and enlisting caring custodial staff can go a long way toward alleviating the later trout care scheduling problems. If you have any additional TIC planning questions or questions related to water chemistry or the raising of fish in general, please feel free to contact us using the menu above.