Trout in the Classroom is Back in Greater Latrobe


Johna Roche

Trout tank in Mrs. Logan’s classroom

Johna Roche, Assistant Editor in Chief

In second grade, I had a monarch butterfly as a class pet, but he did not have a name. In fourth grade, I had a beta fish as a class pet, his name was Beta. Clever right? Thinking about this topic, have you ever had multiple trout as class pets?

In the junior high, some students may remember the Trout in the Classroom program, but it was never carried through in the high school, until this year. Seniors Ava Avolio and Joe Thompson have rebooted the program in Mrs. Logan’s classroom.

“Ava and I did [the program] all throughout junior high and enjoyed it. We figured it should be our one last hoorah before we graduate,” Thompson said.

“We had good memories from Trout in the Classroom and wanted to continue giving back to our local stream ecosystem,” Avolio said.

Both Avolio and Thompson are currently taking the Capstone Honors course offered at the high school. Their idea for the trout sparked from going out to streams during the class period. They got permission to begin prep from Logan, Capstone teacher and program advisor, and the work began.

“Between 200-250 trout eggs came in the delivery,” Logan said.

With this many trout on the way, a lot of prep work needed to be done.

“6 weeks prior to the arrival of the trout, we had to prepare the tank by making sure it ran through one full cycle (all chemicals balanced.) We also had to sort through the dead and live eggs once they arrived,” said Thompson, “ The eggs were placed into a net breeder (nursery) and will be released into the bigger tank once they are able to swim on their own.”

Taking care of the trout is something both Avolio and Thompson must do daily. They spend most of their free time monitoring and checking the tank.

“I do a chem test (consisting of: dissolved oxygen, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, pH, and temperature) daily. Based off of those results, I will see if a water change is necessary,” said Avolio.

“I do a five-gallon water change every week and adjust chemicals if it is needed,” Thompson said.

The seniors will be looking after the trout for quite some time, hopefully until the projected release date.

“The plan is to try to keep them alive until mid-May. We are hoping to release the trout in Adams Falls at Linn Run,” Logan said.

“We want to provide a happy home for the trout before we release them,” Thompson said.

“Our goal is that the trout are happy and healthy when they are released. I hope that they acclimate to the stream ecosystem,” Avolio said. As the trout continue to grow, Avolio and Thompson will be able to learn what the trout like best and adjust care to make them more comfortable in the tank.

Their goals seem realistic, and with the help of Mrs. Logan and other Capstone students, they should be able to get the job done.

However, Trout in the Classroom is not something that will be guaranteed for next year. “When there are students like Ava and Joe willing to do the work and run it themselves, it will be successful,” Logan said.

That being said, if this program is something that interests you, and you are willing to put in the hard work and extra time that it takes to be in charge of a student-run program, then get in contact Mrs. Logan ([email protected],) Ava Avolio ([email protected],) or Joe Thompson ([email protected].)