This engaging program introduces students grades K-12 to the concepts of ecosystems, fisheries biology, freshwater ecology, water quality, and habitat conservation. Students raise Brook Trout from eggs during the winter then release them into approved cold water streams and lakes in spring. Teaching with Trout aims to foster a conservation ethic in students and teaches the importance of maintaining and protecting our natural ecosystems. The program is not meant to restore or augment salmonid populations in Massachusetts.

Program Goals

  • Connect students to their local environment and their local watershed
  • Teach K-12 students the concepts of watershed health and water quality
  • Get students to care about fish and the environment in order to foster the conservation ethic

Brook Trout eggs for the program are produced at the MassWidlife’s Roger Reed Fish Hatchery in Palmer, MA. Eggs may be picked up in late December or early January and will hatch shortly thereafter. MassWildife and teachers work together to determine a release location and date for the trout fry. In Massachusetts, 33 schools in 29 towns are currently participating in the program. Feedback from both teachers and students has been universally positive.

Eastern Brook Trout

A 55 gallon aquarium along with water chiller, water filter, water pump, air pump, water chemistry test kits, and reagents costs about $1,300. In general, schools must supply all their own equipment; in some instances, reuse of old equipment can offset costs. Once the equipment is purchased, there are minimal costs to maintain the system. If you are interested in implementing the Teaching with Trout program, but the cost is prohibitive, please contact us.

A collection of free web resources and lesson plans are available in a range of content areas including science, social studies, language arts, math, art, and more! MassWildlife staff are available to help with aquarium questions and troubleshooting. Hatchery field trips may also be arranged.

Caleb Slater, Anadromous Fish Project Leader