Harrisburg Students Release Raised Trout

HARRISBURG, S.D. – As the school year comes to a close, high school seniors across the Sioux Empire will say their goodbyes to one another in the coming weeks.

In Harrisburg, however, the environmental science students said goodbye to a few classmates Tuesday.

They’re not your typical kinds of classmates. They’re rainbow trout, that the students raised themselves. This is part of the nation-wide ‘trout in the classroom’ program.

“This program is really designed to get students acquainted with the whole side of fisheries; Ichthyology. From A-Z you’re starting with a fertilized egg, habitat, water quality. Things like that. All the way to a viable fry that they can release,” said Jason Nelson of The Outdoor Campus.

Student’s the were given fertilized eggs at the beginning of the spring semester. From there, it’s their responsibility to care for and raise them.

“We checked P-H levels, ammonia levels, nitrate and nitrite levels daily, as often as we had class, to ensure that the trout waters were suitable for them growing and thriving,” added Science Teacher Anne Bartunek.

Bartunek said after mainting suitable waters, students then were able to see the stages of a fish’s life, first hand.”We have looked at the trout under microscopes at various stages of their life cycle. We’ve seen the development of the heart. We’ve also done dissections where we’ve looked at fish anatomy, both external and internal.”

Raising an entire school of rainbow trout has been a lot of work for everyone in the class. “The biggest thing…is probably everything. You know, taking care of them, feeding them, checking the levels. Just looking after them,” says Senior Eli Sehar.

But that work is what makes releasing them all the more special.

“One day someone who’s fishing out here, even one of the students or their families, might come across a rainbow trout that’s grown in size, or tripled in size. Just to see it all come together, in such a neat way,” says Bartunek.

 

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