- Contact your Salmon or Trout in the Classroom state coordinator and/or Trout Unlimited chapter
- Acquire Funding and Equipment
- Understand the Timeline
- Set Up the Aquarium
- Prepare your aquarium for Salmonids
- Monitor and Maintain the Aquarium Ecosystem
- Create your Curriculum
- Coordinate your Release Day Field Trip
- Connect with the Community and Have Fun!
This is a step-by-step basic start-up guide for a Salmon, Steelhead or Trout in the Classroom program. Below is information on the who, what, when, and where of S/TIC with links to each resource.
Contact your Salmon or Trout in the Classroom state coordinator and/or Trout Unlimited chapter #
Each state has a unique set of partners that facilitate S/TIC.
Acquire Funding and Equipment #
The next step is acquiring funding for your equipment and supplies. Many classrooms are grant-funded. Sometimes, your local Trout Unlimited chapter or state agency will assist with funding or have equipment that you can loan.
Equipment Costs #
Equipment costs total $1,000 to $1,500. It can be purchased piecemeal or in a packaged kit from our partner, That Fish Place-That Pet Place. Kits that include the chiller are around $1,000-$1,200 and you’ll also need a 55 gallon tank, stand (optional) and covers/insulation materials.
Find the equipment list here with options for purchasing.
Understand the Timeline #
Most programs begin with getting eyed eggs from a hatchery in the fall and release into a state-approved (permitted) stream or impoundment in the spring. Others receive eggs in the winter after Winter Break at school. Either way, before you do all that, you must prepare your aquarium for the trout!
Check out this timeline for the typical classroom.
Set Up the Aquarium #
Equipment List: all equipment needs plus where to purchase equipment can be found at this page.
Aquarium Set-up Video Playlist: a great step-by-step video playlist of equipment and aquarium set up.
Prepare your aquarium for Salmonids #
Before your eggs arrive, it’s a huge advantage to the health of your aquarium ecosystem to jump start the nitrogen cycle (the thing responsible for converting waste/harmful ammonia to nitrites and then to nitrates) by establishing a beneficial bacteria colony.
Monitor and Maintain the Aquarium Ecosystem #
Maintenance checklist: daily, weekly, monthly plus more on water changes and the nitrogen cycle.
Create your Curriculum #
While there is no set curriculum for S/TIC, the Lesson Plan Library contains many lesson plans you can use and adapt to fit your grade level and classroom’s needs. One of the advantages of the program is how versatile it is and has endless interdisciplinary applications!
Follow this link to the Lesson Plan Library.
Coordinate your Release Day Field Trip #
Many schools organize a field trip to a community river or stream to release their fish. Some schools have a stream right in their back yard! Wherever you go, there are a lot of ideas on how to make this field trip an event to remember. Check out our Field Day Lesson Plans.
Note: Release sites should be permitted by your state wildlife agency. TU does not condone releasing hatchery fish in water where native and wild salmonid populations live; teachers should defer to their state agency’s guidance on where to release fish. Conversely, some classrooms raise native fish as part of a re-introduction program and this would be an example of when it is appropriate to release salmonids into a stream where native and wild fish live.
Connect with the Community and Have Fun! #
A rewarding and educational way to culminate the months-long journey of S/TIC. Release fingerlings into an approved water body and students form a lasting connection to that watershed. Here are some field trip activity ideas.
Releasing fish into a river or stream is a state-regulated activity and permissions and permitting requirements vary from state to state. These regulations are put in place to protect our wild and native fish populations from introduced threats like disease and invasive species. Your state coordinator can help you navigate this process if necessary.
Contact us #
Not finding what you need? contact us at TIC@tu.org.