About the Program

Enhance Your STEAM Curriculum & State Learning Standards

The program brings science to life and connects students to watersheds in classrooms across North America and the United Kingdom. Trout Unlimited along with a myriad of partners facilitate this program within public and private schools in the U.S.

Students Learn to See Connections Between the Trout, Water Resources, the Environment, and Themselves. 

Trout, Steelhead and Salmon in the Classroom (TIC or SIC) enhances science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics curriculums. Students study and raise trout from eggs to fingerlings (small fish) in a coldwater aquarium during the school year. It is a unique opportunity used to teach the relevance of watersheds. Where permitted, the program culminates with a field trip to a community stream, river, lake or pond where students release their fish into a state-approved location


Promoting Active Observation, Inquiry, and Stewardship in Students

The program begins with assembling an aquarium system to host hundreds of salmonids. Once a healthy ecosystem is established for the salmonids, eggs arrive and the months-long process begins of monitoring tank conditions so that a percentage of the sensitive trout eggs survive.

Over the course of the next few months, students witness the trout or salmon life cycle and as their salmonids grow, so does their care for the trout and their environment. This care translates into a deep understanding and connection to the watershed systems on which all life depends.

This hands-on, science-focused program changes the paradigm of learning from passive to active observation, inquiry, and stewardship by students. 

Partnerships & Funding

Partnerships Are at the Core of the Program’s Success

In many areas, Trout Unlimited chapter and council volunteers facilitate the program in partnership with state or federal agencies at public and/or private schools. However, a variety of partnerships exist between other non-profits, agencies, private businesses and individuals to make the program happen! 


Fostering a New Generation of Advocates for Clean Air and Water

The majority of Americans live in urban and suburban areas, places that provide limited access to wilderness. Additionally, young people are spending less time outdoors than in previous decades leading to a lost connection to nature. For these young people, the concept of a freshwater ecosystem can be very abstract.

TIC/SIC classroom aquaria immerse students in natural phenomena typically experienced only outside. They meaningfully engage in the care of salmonids and their micro-habitat through monitoring water quality in the tank. In this way, they become stewards not only of the trout but also the water.

The program creates a gateway stewardship experience that fosters a new generation of advocates for salmonids and the watersheds in which they live. Additionally, TIC/SIC unifies young people giving them a voice at the table around clean air and water.

Trout in the Classroom unifies young people, giving them a voice at the table around clean air and water. 


Designed for Teachers Who Wanted Hands-on, Environmental Education in their Curriculum

TIC/SIC programs have been in place across the country for more than 30 years, the results of numerous collaborations between teachers, volunteers, government agencies and local organizations including (but not limited to) Trout Unlimited. The programs were designed specifically for teachers who wanted to incorporate hands-on, environmental education into their curriculum. Anecdotal evidence reveals that California and New Jersey were the first states to adopt the program. California teachers started Steelhead in the Classroom, while in New Jersey the program became Trout in the Classroom. Once established, TIC and SIC grew at a tremendous rate: over 100,000 students now participate annually.  

Why has TU adopted TIC/SIC classrooms across the country? The turnkey program imparts TU’s coldwater conservation mission in a real way through student stewardship of trout micro-habitat. TU chapters and other partners can sponsor one or more schools by providing funding, equipment, technical support, classroom guest speakers and guidance during field work. Members of TU can help classes by sharing their expertise in conservation, stream restoration, fly-tying, trout biology, invertebrate identification and outdoor sports activities. TIC/ SIC gives our volunteers a meaningful way to connect with their community and provides much-needed support in our public school systems. 

The program gives our volunteers a meaningful way to connect with their community and provides much-needed support in our public school systems.  

Get Started

A Turnkey Program for Public & Private Schools


Find Local Support & Funding

Connect with groups and agencies that can help with your program startup.


Join the Community

Our national network of teachers and volunteers collaborate online and in person.


Create Your Freshwater Ecosystem

Setup a specialized aquarium in the classroom.


Engage Students in Hands-on Learning

Students explore as stewards and scientists daily.

Looking for something different? View all docs