First-graders from the Bronx travel to Westchester to release trout raised in the classroom

First-graders at the Samara Community School in the Bronx visited Westchester County to release trout into the water.
Photo courtesy DEP

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently joined Trout Unlimited and 42 first-grade students from Samara Community School in the Bronx to release juvenile trout that the students raised in their classrooms.

Nearly 40 fingerlings were released into the Cross River where it passes through the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester County. The Cross River feeds into New York City’s Cross River Reservoir.

Since 2002, DEP and Trout Unlimited, a national grassroots nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds, have worked together to educate students from New York City and upstate communities about the importance of protecting our shared water resources through the Trout in the Classroom program. The conservation-oriented environmental education program teaches young New Yorkers, ranging from pre-K to grade 12, about the connections between trout, the New York City water supply system, water quality and students from both sides of the city’s water tunnels.

In October, more than 130 classroom teachers and educators joined the Trout in the Classroom program’s Fall Teacher Conference and received trout eggs from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Thousands of students from schools in New York City, as well as the city’s upstate watersheds, incubated the trout eggs in their classrooms and raised them into juvenile trout, which are also called fingerlings. This hands-on, eight-month long program culminates with students taking part in designated field days between March and June during which they release the fingerlings into New York City watershed streams.

During these trout release field days, students experience firsthand a watershed stream and forest, participate in nature hikes and macroinvertebrate studies, and sing “Happy Free Day” to their beloved fingerlings.

DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants.

For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes