JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Trout Unlimited announced its Adopt-a-Trout program for the school year 2016-17 was a huge success. The popular program run by Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited chapter (JHTU), and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) ended with a field day recently at the Jackson National Fish Hatchery and activities at the Jackson Hole Middle School.
This season finishing up, the Adopt-a-Trout program worked with more than 200 seventh grade students at the Jackson Hole Middle School to educate them about fisheries and watershed science. A combination of field and classroom experiences were led by local aquatic and fisheries resource experts and volunteers. Through the Adopt-a-Trout Program, students participate in a study of fish movement by “adopting” and following radio-tagged trout throughout the school year.
Michelle Reisbeck and Katie Steinberg, both seventh grade science teachers at TCSD#1, said, “We live in an amazing place with a rich and diverse ecosystem, but surprisingly, many of our students have not experienced it first-hand and know little about its inhabitants. By collaborating with Trout Unlimited, our students have been given multiple hands-on opportunities for exploration of trout habitat, life cycles, migration, and reproduction in real-world settings. The experience is invaluable, one that students recall for years to come, and is a highlight of seventh grade.”
TU has partnered with WGFD, local school districts, and other organizations to offer Adopt-a-Trout programs in 13 communities across the Wyoming. In addition to its educational benefits, the Adopt-a-Trout Program provides resource managers with valuable data regarding habitat conditions and trout migratory patterns, which in turn helps to identify new stream restoration and reconnection projects, measure the success of completed projects, and validate restoration work. In the Jackson Hole area, past Adopt-a-Trout programs have studied trout movement before and after TU-initiated dam removal projects on Spread Creek and the Gros Ventre River that opened up over 50 and 100 miles, respectively, for native cutthroat trout migration.
The 2016-2017 Adopt-a-Trout Program in Jackson Hole was made possible by funding and in-kind staff support from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited, the Teton Conservation District, and the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole as well as many community volunteers. “We are grateful to all of our partners and volunteers that make the Jackson Adopt-a-Trout Program possible and inspire the next generation of conservation stewards to take care of the incredible coldwater resources in their backyard,” said Leslie Steen, TU Snake River Headwaters Project Manager.