Thursday, June 18, 2015

City Springs Students Learn about the Watershed in Their Backyard

By Zachary Carey, Teacher, City Springs Elementary/Middle School

This year City Springs Upper School science students had the opportunity to take part in two new programs, Trout in the Classroom (TIC) and Your Watershed Your Backyard (YWYB). Trout in the Classroom allowed students to raise around 100 rainbow trout in our classroom. Your Watershed Your Backyard taught students about our watershed and the effects that humans have on it.

These programs were brought to City Springs through support from BioEYES of the Carnegie Institution for Science. BioEYES provided logistical and material support for TIC, while developing and presenting the YWYB program for our 7th grade students.

Students releasing one of the trout.

The Trout in the Classroom program began when we received 100 or so alevins, trout larvae, in January. Students from the City Springs Science Club maintained the trout's 55 gallon tank by checking the pH and ammonia levels, monitoring the tank temperature, and feeding the fish.  Each day after school different student groups had tank maintenance, which strengthened the students' teamwork and analytical skills.

Over the course of the program, all upper schools students had the incredible opportunity to observe the development of trout larvae into 3-4 inch long juvenile trout! The program concluded with a trip to Stony Run, a tributary of the Jones Falls near Hampden, to release the trout into their natural habitat.

The trout release trip coincided with the 7th graders' Your Watershed Your Backyard program. The success of the trip was thanks to an all-hands-on-deck effort by BioEYES, Blue Water Baltimore, Trout in the Classroom, and the Baltimore Curriculum Project. This work was made possible through the generous support of the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

These organizations allowed students to participate in enriching activities, including water testing, micro-invertebrate collection and observation, identifying and removing invasive species, hiking through the woods on a scavenger hunt, and of course, releasing our trout. The variety of activities provided an opportunity for students to stay engaged and find something uniquely interesting to them.

The release of the trout represented the exceptional work of our students, school, and the organizations that have supported them. Although seeing our finned friends swimming away was bittersweet, the students loved seeing the fish in their natural environment and luckily, next year we'll have the opportunity to take part in the program again!

For more information about BioEYES visit:
For more information about Trout in the Classroom visit:
For more information about Blue Water Baltimore visit:

Students cutting down wineberry, an invasive plant.