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Trout in the Classroom

Lawrence/Nelson Applies for Game and Parks Scholarship to bring Trout in the Classroom

Dana Epley

August 01, 2017

    The Lawrence/Nelson fourth and fifth grade teachers, Dina Hoelting and Andy Peterson, along with Lawrence/Nelson principal, Dana Epley, applied for a grant to have Trout in the Classroom, and learned on August 31st, 2017, that they were approved for this scholarship!  This program is a curriculum that provides students the opportunity to learn about aquatic resources within a framework of hatching and raising rainbow trout. Participating classrooms are provided a coldwater aquarium system and rainbow trout eggs. Students monitor growth as their trout hatch and develop, and they take ownership of caring for the trout by feeding, testing water quality and cleaning the aquarium.

    Throughout the program, students participate in activities that cover topics like aquatic habitat, water quality, ecosystem interactions, food webs, life cycles and Nebraska fish species. Students learn first-hand how all aspects of a trout’s life cycle, food web and habitat are interconnected and impacted by the environment. The program culminates in an end of the year field trip to Schramm Park and Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium to release the trout fingerlings.

    Curriculum is designed to align with 4th and 5th grade Nebraska State Academic Standards, but is suitable for other ages. The Lawrence/Nelson fourth and fifth grade classes will be taking part in this project and will follow the timeline below:

November: Teacher training workshop.
December: Set up and operate aquarium in the classroom.
January: Rainbow trout eggs are picked up from Nebraska Game and Parks.
January-May: Trout are reared in classrooms.
April-May: Trout are relinquished to Game and Parks to be stocked at Schramm Park. Field trip opportunities are available.
May: Teachers evaluate the program and provide feedback to Game and Parks.

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    The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission annually contributes fertilized rainbow trout eggs, trout feed, training, curriculum, technical support, field trip opportunities and additional educational resources to participating schools.  Participating schools are required to obtain the following equipment to hatch and raise rainbow trout, which are estimated to cost around $1,000 (the amount of the scholarship that Lawrence/Nelson applied for).  The predominant cost is in the water chiller, which is required to support a cool water species. 

  • Aqua Euro USA 1/4 HP Max Chill Chiller*
  • AquaClear 110 Power Filter – Up to 110 gal.*
  • Whisper 60 Aquarium Air Pump – 60 Gallons*
  • Add-a-Stone Airstone – 10 in. x 2 in. x 1/2 in.*
  • Mag Drive 700 Water Pump with 10 ft. Cord*
  • Freshwater Substrate – River Jewels – 10 lb.*
  • Lee’s Squeeze-Bulb Ultra Gravel Vac with on/off Valve*
  • Aquarium Net*
  • Net Breeder*
  • Battery Operated Digital Thermometer*
  • Outlet Tube & Diffuser Magnum 350 Canister Filter*
  • Check Valve*
  • Flexible Airline Tubing – 8 ft.*
  • Flexible Tubing – 5/8 in. diameter*
  • Female Insert Adapter – FPT x Insert – 1/2 in. x 1/2 in.*
  • 40-50 Gallon Breeder Aquarium & suitable surface to hold its weight**

Supplies that will need replaced annually

  • API Freshwater Master Test Kit*
  • Microbe-Lift Special Blend – 16 oz.*
  • Nite Out II – 16 oz.*
  • NovAqua Plus Water Conditioner – 16 oz.*
  • Chemi-Pure Aquarium Filter Media – 10 oz.*
  • Replacement filter media (charcoal, foam, bio-pellets)*

    The estimated start-up cost for participating schools is approximately $1,000.  Nebraska Trout in the Classroom has set up a scholarship account through the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation to assist new participants with these purchases. Additional local and national grants, scholarships and fundraising resources relevant to this project are also listed below.


Trout in the Classroom is made possible through funding from:

Congratulations to the fourth and fifth graders on this awesome experience, and a big thank you to Mrs. Hoelting and Mr. Peterson for applying for this opportunity, as well as Ms. Hongsermeier, for sharing this opportunity with our elementary teachers.  How exciting!

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