Mountain Sun Community School Raises Trout with Trout Unlimited

Kayla Leed | Brevard, NC

Each year the Monarch class (grades 4-6) at Mountain Sun Community School raise trout from eggs in the classroom. The local Trout Unlimited chapter provides the class with all the materials needed to raise trout, and this year the class successfully released 80 trout into the Davidson River on February 6th.

Three years ago Nicole Mihalas, member of Trout Unlimited, decided to get MSCS involved as her son, an avid fly-fisherman, was in the Monarch class. Over the last three years, MSCS students have released nearly 200 trout into local streams.

“The trout are sensitive to all kinds of things, like ammonia and nitrate levels in the water. It’s important that the students pay attention to these levels. They test the water several times a week and make observations of the fish to determine their needs,” said lead Monarch teacher, Becky Langerman.

In the classroom, the trout are the students’ responsibility. The students test the water, feed them, study their life cycle, their impact on the local environment, and their importance to the local economy.

“It’s cool to watch their life cycle change as we raise them from eggs,” said a Monarch student.

Trout in local streams is an important indicator of stream quality. They also provide stimulation to the local economy by providing sports fishermen with plenty of trout to catch.

Mihalas wrote, “This hands-on experience develops students’ interest in the environment and conservation issues as they learn what it takes to keep these trout alive and healthy. These interests inspire questions about the needs of humans and their relationship to the environment. The program not only encompasses science but language arts, mathematics, social studies, ecology, and art.”

The Monarchs plan to raise trout again next year and encourage other classes to raise trout in their classrooms. This experiential opportunity has helped them connect science and ecology to their connections to the community and natural world.

Mountain Sun Community School is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) independent school in Brevard, NC. Mountain Sun serves children ages 3 through middle school and combines Montessori education with outdoor exploration, artistic creativity, and community service. Please visit http://mountainsunschool.org/or call 828.885.2555 for more information.

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