Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a conservation-oriented environmental education program for elementary, middle, and high school students. During the year, each teacher tailors the program to fit his or her curricular needs. Therefore, each TIC program is unique. TIC has interdisciplinary applications in science, social studies, mathematics, language arts, fine arts, and physical education.
In the program, students and teachers raise trout from fertilized eggs supplied by VDGIF hatcheries, in aquariums equipped with special chillers designed to keep the water near 50 degrees F. The students make daily observations of water quality parameters and record their data, plot trends, and make sure that the water quality is sufficient to support trout development. The fingerlings, which hatch in late October, are almost an inch and a half long by mid-January. Towards the end of the school year, students will release the fry into VDGIF approved watersheds.
TIC programs have been in place all across the country for more than 20 years, and are the result of numerous collaborations between teachers, volunteers, government agencies, and local organizations like Trout Unlimited. The programs were designed specifically for teachers who wanted to incorporate more environmental education into their curriculum.
While the immediate goal of Trout in the Classroom is to increase student knowledge of water quality and coldwater conservation, its long-term goal is to reconnect an increasingly urbanized population of youth to the system of streams, rivers, and watersheds that sustain them. Successful programs have helped:
- connect students to their local environments and their local watersheds;
- teach about watershed health and water quality, and;
- get students to care about fish and the environment.
In Virginia, the TIC program has been operating for over 10 years. During the 2014-15 school year, over 230 schools with 242 TIC tanks participated in the program. Most schools coordinate the program through their local chapter of Trout Unlimited. In some cases, the TU Chapters can provide some of the equipment necessary for the program, in others, the schools must write grants or obtain funding from other sources. The TU Chapters provide the trout eggs, technical assistance, and help coordinate the release of fish.
If you’re a teacher in Virginia and would like more details, or would like to contact your local Trout Unlimited Chapter, please contact: