On April 29, 2019, Grier School’s Life Science class and their teacher, Mrs. Christine Fernandes, participated in Trout Release Day events as part of their participation in the Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom program (TIC). This is the school’s 6th year participating in the program. The class released 36 brook trout fingerlings that they raised from eggs that they received from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Trout Unlimited. Grier School partnered with local resident Bill Anderson, president of the Little Juniata River Association, to raise their trout. They were released in McClain Run at the Camp Greene Hills site in Barree, PA. The site is managed by Charlie Renner.
The Trout Release Day activities took place with the help of presenters Leslie Leckvarcik, Kylie Orndorf, and Kelsi Newman (from Juniata College’s Science in Motion program). Also presenting were: Bill Anderson, Carl Reed, and Bill Bressler (of the LJRA); Corey Girt (Waterways Conservation officer from the PA Fish and Boat Commission); and Bill Lukens (retired hatchery worker). Students installed a bluebird nesting box at the release site and played a food web game to see how providing habitat for bluebirds is a sustainable choice for creating a healthy ecosystem. They electrofished an area of the stream and tied wooly bugger flies as part of their day. Extension activities included: dissecting perch, volunteering to help stock Bald Eagle Creek with brown trout and rainbow trout with Conservation Waterways officer Sean Sauserman on April 29, 2019, making fish prints, and identifying macroinvertebrates with Logan Stenger (watershed specialist from the Huntingdon County Conservation District) on May 8, 2019.
TIC is an interdisciplinary program that introduces cold water conservation education in Pennsylvania schools by raising brook trout, a native cold water species, from eggs to fingerlings. Throughout the school year, students monitor and record aquarium water quality and trout behavior. The program exists statewide due to a partnership between the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and from the support of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Grier’s Life Science class cared for their trout on a daily basis, while their teacher, incorporated cold water education and adaptation lessons into the classroom. The Little Juniata River Association is a Program Partner that assists the Grier School by providing content knowledge and technical support to help the students feel vested in cold water conservation.
This program is designed to foster awareness and knowledge about cold water conservation for students in grades 3-12 and to encourage continued participation in cold water conservation, management, and recreation programs. Grier School and the LJRA provided funding for this program.
Grier Life Science students also participated in the nationwide Trout in the Classroom Quilt Square Exchange Program. This year's theme was Stream Stewardship. Students designed quilt squares to illustrate concepts related to stream stewardship, how people and communities can become protectors of and care for stream wildlife and all of the life that depend on the stream ecosystem. Grier students shipped their messages and quilt squares to participating schools across the nation as part of the exchange. Mrs. Fernandes was really impressed by the students' creativity and dedication to the quilt square project.