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Sudbury elementary students release thousands of fish into Ramsey Lake

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It was a moving scene Monday night down at the shoreline of Ramsey Lake in Sudbury as a few dozen kids from Algonquin Road Public School released the 50,000 walleye fry they had been raising in their classroom, into the wild.

Sudbury elementary students from Algonquin Road Public School release walleye they raised in class into Ramsey Lake. June 10, 2024 (Ryan Crouch)

The fish had been spawning in the hatchery at the school that was established as a prototype to stock local lakes with native brook trout and walleye.

Since the inception of the program, the kids at Algonquin have successfully released 40,000 brook trout and 350,000 walleye fry into local waters.

For teacher Ryan Crouch, it’s about giving kids a hands-on experience.

"So within our school, we also have microscopes that are associated with our hatchery. Students were able to look at the fish as they grow and their eggs, as they develop a heartbeat, as they develop the colour in their eyes and they get to see them grow over time," Crouch told CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca in an interview.

"And once they hatch, they’re able to come out here and release them into the wild."

Crouch gave a speech to the young students and their loved ones who came out before many were given an opportunity to release the young fish into the water by handing the cup to their teacher.

"The hatchery connects theory with hands-on experience," he said.

"It teaches students about cell biology and the natural development of fish from egg to fry."

Algonquin Road Public School students take turns releasing walleye fry into Sudbury's Ramsey Lake. June 10, 2024 (Ryan Crouch)

According to the school board, modern hatcheries are Version 7s, while the elementary school's hatchery is a Version 2.

It has recently upgraded the UV light and by the fall, hopes to have a larger aquarium with new plumbing.

"Students are learning about science in a fun and exciting way," said principal Trevor Dewit.

Sudbury elementary students from Algonquin Road Public School release walleye they raised in class into Ramsey Lake. June 10, 2024 (Ryan Crouch)

"Hatcheries encourage ecological literacy, environmental stewardship, teamwork and leadership – three of the six pillars for EcoSchools certification." 

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