Interdisciplinary Environmental Learning with PATIC Program
Through the generosity of a Grier donor, trout have returned to the Science Building at Grier. Students in Life Science class recently welcomed 257 rainbow trout eggs to their classroom. By participating in the Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom (PATIC) program, the students and their teacher Mrs. Fernandes hope to raise these baby trout to the stage where they can be released into the McClain Run of the Little Juniata River in Huntingdon County at the end of April.
Mrs. Fernandes says the survival rate depends on how well the class can maintain the water quality and on the stress level of the fish within the classroom’s closed system. “Raising trout is very difficult to do,” Mrs. Fernandes writes, “ because they are so intolerant to pollution.” She says the classes used to raise native brook trout, but the species’ high sensitivity to changing water conditions made survival even more challenging. Last year the PATIC program opted to switch to rainbow trout which are hardier and faster-growing.
PATIC is made possible by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, Trout Unlimited, and Grier’s program partner, Bill Anderson, president of the Little Juniata River Association. Grier students were able to participate in the program this year due to a generous donation to the Science Department for STEM projects.
Through Grier’s Trout in the Classroom unit students not only learn about the fish and their adaptations, but also the fragility of ecosystems are and why it is important to be a good steward of the Earth and how to simultaneously enjoy and protect these coldwater ecosystems. We’ll check back with the Life Sciences students in April to see how this year’s batch of PATIC trout are doing!