Mt. Pleasant Area students free a school of state's fish
Seventh-grade science students at Mt. Pleasant Area Junior High School recently released more than 100 brook trout — Pennsylvania's state fish — into Jacobs Creek.
The happening — which took place on the pastoral grounds of the Laurelville Mennonite Church Center in Mt. Pleasant Township — concluded the pupils' “Trout in the Classroom” project.
“I think it was the best project we did in science all year,” said Shayree Ansell, 12, a student at the school.
“It was a good experience watching the fish grow from eggs to baby brook trout,” she added.
The project was made possible through a partnership between the state's Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, said Floyd Snyder, the students' science teacher.
The partnership, carried out locally with assistance from Jacobs Creek Watershed Association, was designed to introduce students to cold water resources and the importance of them to all communities, Snyder said.
It also provides brook trout eggs, trout food and technical assistance, curriculum and teacher workshops annually to school districts like Mt. Pleasant Area.
In November, the students received the trout eggs.
They were responsible for taking care of the trout, contained in a singular tank, during science classes.
By monitoring the water's temperature, along with its pH and ammonia levels, they ensured the environment was safe for the growing fish.
They were tasked with feeding them a specific amount of food each day. Meanwhile, Snyder said he and his fellow science instructors used the captive fish as an example to teach the students about life cycles, adaptations that allow organisms to survive and nature's nitrogen cycle and ecological indicators.
Students regularly checked the fish tank to make observations and check for changes.
While the science class was only able to procure equipment for one classroom this year, the goal is to have more next year.
“Our goal is to raise enough money to have a tank in every seventh-grade science classroom,” Snyder said.
Having additional tanks will allow Snyder's future students to raise and release even more brook trout, he added.
Financial support to purchase project equipment was made possible through donations and volunteer efforts from Jacobs Creek Watershed Association, dentist Paul Kraisinger of Complete Family Dentistry, the junior high school's student council, student sponsor Patricia Smith of the Mt. Pleasant Area Educators Association, the school's Pollution Patrol student group and their sponsor, Julie Emerick, and Walmart, Snyder said. In addition, officials of the Markosky Engineering Group Inc. volunteered their time through the Jacobs Creek organization to teach students how to collect aquatic macroinvertebrates in the creek.
The pupils were asked to identify specimens they collected.
Brian L. Tuccarello, a waterway conservation officer with the state's fish and boat commission, spoke to students about water issues and answered questions.
“I think it is important to get kids off cell phones and computers to learn about the environment,” Tuccarello said.
Students also learned about the duties of the fish and boat commission and how its officials stock fish in local waterways.
They also got to enjoy a nature walk on the center's trails.
Kelly Vernon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-547-5722 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.