by Gregory Andrew
MMWD is a partner with the California Department of Fish and Game, Trout Unlimited and local schools to bring biology and nature to Marin kids through the Trout in the Classroom program. The program gives children the opportunity to raise and learn about the life history and habitat requirements of rainbow trout and salmon. Aquariums are set up in classrooms, trout eggs are delivered to each class, and the kids watch the eggs hatch and raise the baby fish until they grow to fingerling size. Then the kids take a field trip to MMWD’s Lake Lagunitas Picnic Area where they release the fish into a stream that flows between Lake Lagunitas and Bon Tempe Reservoir.
On May 23, the program was recognized on a national level when the American Fisheries Society (AFS) presented an award for excellence in creating community-based Aquatic Education Programs to the State Fish and Game Commission. California was selected by AFS to receive this award for the creative approach, dynamic partnerships and sheer number of children impacted by this program. In Marin County alone, over 1,000 elementary and middle school students are now participating in the program each year. State-wide, approximately 1,000 classrooms are involved—that’s over 20,000 children, not to mention the teachers and parent volunteers. There are 80 Marin County classrooms involved and 380 around San Francisco Bay.
The award was accepted by Fish and Game Deputy Director Jordan Traverso and Classroom Aquarium Education Program Chair Ethan Rotman. MMWD has a small role but we are still beaming with pride over the award. Really though, it is the teachers and kids who make this program such a great success.