There were many moments of excitement and curiosity in 45 schools across Alberta last week. The 10,000 students involved in the Fish in Schools: Raise to Release (FinS) program received some new classmates – 65 rainbow trout eggs!
Having reached the eyed egg stage of their life cycle, the rainbow trout were transported from one of Alberta’s fish culture facilities to the classrooms.
The eggs were carefully packed in a thermos and placed in a cooler, before they were driven by staff member, picked up by volunteers, or even sent in the mail to some schools!
Bow Habitat Station works with Education and Outreach staff to coordinate the FinS program. The program allows students a hands-on connection to creatures they might not interact with on a regular basis: our fishy friends below the water’s surface. By introducing students to the trout life cycle in this unique way, they learn about the adaptations developed during each life cycle stage, as well as the impacts of their actions on fish habitat.
Since 2011, Apache Canada Ltd. has been the title sponsor of the FinS program providing annual supplies and allowing the program to expand into new communities across the province!
Aspen Heights Elementary School in Red Deer is one of ten schools new to the FinS program this year. The excitement the students expressed as their eggs settled into their aquarium filled the classroom with inquisition and anticipation. Grade 4 students can’t wait to see the eggs hatch and said they’re, “most excited to see how much food the fish will eat!”
Over the next few months, Alberta students will watch as their fish hatch into alevin, use up their yolk sacs, and grow into fry. With the help of their teachers, they will learn how to care for the fish; maintain a healthy aquarium environment, including monitoring the water quality and temperature, and ensuring the fish are getting the right amount of food.
At the end of the school year, students will be joined by an Alberta Environment and Parks staff to release their fish into a provincially-approved water body in the great outdoors!