TORRINGTON – Torrington Middle School sixth grade science teacher, Jenna Krul brought the Trout in the Classroom program into her science curriculum again this year.
Krul began her Trout in the Classroom lesson six years ago while teaching in Nebraska. She said because of a lack of trout fishing in this area, there was no Trout in the Classroom program in Wyoming, so she reached out to coordinator Mike Jensen to help her get it started here.
“Local Game and Fish Commissioner Mark Jolovich donated some tags for us to be able to fund the program,” she said.
The young scientists receive their trout eggs in January and are able to follow the life cycle of the trout the rest of the school year. However, the lesson comes with great responsibility for students as well.
“It’s just a really great program to show a living lifecycle inside the classroom but also there’s a lot of duties with it, like we had to have the kids take care of the water, and the quality of the water was so important for their survival,” Krul said. “This is the first year that I’ve had so many fish survive like this. It was a really successful year.”
Krul’s “Trout Techs,” or students that were hands-on helpers with this project, were a huge part of the success of this year’s lesson.
“These students were a part of my Extension Class where they were trained to become Trout Techs. They checked the water quality of the tank daily and performed water changes when water quality was poor,” Krul said. “They worked so hard, they documented water quality, taught other students about water quality. We owe the success of our tank to their dedication.”
On Monday, Trout in the Classroom Coordinator Mike Jensen and Trout Unlimited member Paul Bunker helped wrap up the sixth grader’s semester-long lesson with a presentation.
Bunker taught the students about the various species of cutthroat trout native to Wyoming, non-native species such as lake trout and also the difference between stocked and wild trout.
He visited with the students about how the introduction of the non-native lake trout to Yellowstone Lake has nearly depleted the native cutthroat population and the importance of the restoration of the Yellowstone Lake ecosystem.
Jensen wrapped up the presentation with a fly-tying lesson and Krul treated the class to a fish fry and cupcakes.