Students raise trout, release into river as part of ‘Trout in a Classroom’ program

OGDEN, Utah -- Kindergarten students from the Davinci Academy released nearly 100 rainbow trout on Friday after raising them for a classroom program.

According to Paul Burnett, Utah Water and Habitat Director for Trout Unlimited, the students have been raising the trout since January for their "Trout in a classroom" program.

"The 'trout in a classroom' program has been a really good hands-on educational program that's been a cooperative effort between our organization, the division of wildlife and some of the local schools around here," Burnett said.

According to Burnett, the program has been going on since the 1990's across the US, but only the third year in Utah. Burnett said the program has been successful with about 22 different aquariums set up across the Salt Lake Valley, Cache County and Summit County.

"Those hands-on experiences...they really stick with the kids for their entire lives. I remember really vividly some of the trips I took when I was a kid and I think that being able to see live animals and being able to kind of understand what they need really provides that really important connection to the natural world that is really important," Burnett said.

The big benefit is tying it to real life, Eleanor Sather, a kindergarten teacher at the Davinci Academy, said. The children care for the fish emotionally and physically and when the fish are put into the river the kids care about the river, according to Sather.

"Bringing the conversationalist attitude, even in kindergarten, is so important. I think that's something that will follow them forever," Sather said.