Fish farming students in Espanola release hatched eggs into the wild
It was an egg-citing day Friday inside Ecole Catholique La Renaissance as the high school students got to see their fish farming project come to fruition.
It's part of a club that has become one of the most popular inside the small French Catholic school in Espanola.
"It's days like these where we're actually out of the classroom that the kids get the biggest learning," said teacher Stephen Montgomery.
"We love it, it's a big process, a long process and to be able to see the conclusion is just great."
Students recently received 5,000 brook trout eggs and were responsible for recording daily growth, the anatomy and maintaining the fish farm.
The eggs have since hatched and today is the day they're being released into the wild.
"It's a really good opportunity," said student Andrew Langlois.
“We have our environmental science class and our club, thanks to (the community), we're able to come out here. We have a free bus ride and we're able to come out and put the fish in the river to help the environment.”
The program is a partnership with the school and Espanola-based Micro Hatcheries. Together they've raised both trout and walleye.
This winter's trout are being released into a creek that will feed into the Spanish River.
"This here represents science, it represents food security, with First Nations because a lot of them are from First Nations communities it's cultural -- they use it for language," said Rolly Frappier, the owner of Micro Hatcheries.
Frappier also works with a dozen or so other schools in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts.
One by one, students take turns scooping trout into the water. Biology, ecology, even plumbing -- this is a hands-on lesson for students who volunteer to take part.
"It's been a really good learning opportunity for me, ," said student Leah Emiry.
“I think that now I know what it's like and maybe I'll be interested in something like this one day and I think it's created really good bonds to go with everyone."
“Whether we're going in the Spanish or we're talking about going to Black Creek, we're talking about walleye, we're talking about trout, they've all fished this so they actually feel like I've fished this ... now I'm giving back," said Montgomery.
This is a community-driven project, right down to the donated school bus that transports them to the water.
In its eight-year history of releasing fish into the wild, Montgomery figures they've probably raised about 160,000 fish.
"It's actually also opened up the curriculum for us, this year I taught an environmental science class," he said.
"Rolly and I take a back seat to this, it's the students that do all the work, they're getting all the enjoyment and it really makes it part of their learning. They get hooked because of that so it's great!"
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