By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item
MILLERSBURG — For the second year, the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art will help students complete their journey learning about the life cycle of trout.
The center will serve as a regional release spot for three Dauphin County schools today and Wednesday, said Alexis Dow Campbell, director of creative programming for the Ned Smith Center. The schools are part of the state’s Trout in the Classroom program, which aims to introduce students to coldwater conservation education, according to the program’s website.
The students come to the center after raising the trout all year to release the fish into Wiconisco Creek, Campbell said.
“They really get a hands-on experience as to the life cycle of these little animals,” she said.
Students release the “buckets full” of trout, then spend the day at the center learning about the fish and the environment that native trout live in, Campbell said.
The released trout have been raised from eggs in a classroom aquarium, where students monitor them and teachers provide classroom instruction about cold water conservation, according to the Trout in the Classroom website, which lists the Mifflinburg Area Middle School as the only Valley school to participate in the program.
Program organizers at Mifflinburg could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The mission of the Trout in the Classroom program fits with the center’s mission to allow people the opportunity to experience nature in a new way, Campbell said.
“We’re really focused on getting kids outside, that’s at the center of what we do,” she said. “To see 75 kids along the creek and experiencing nature firsthand (is great).”
And while it may be hard for some students to say goodbye to the fish they’ve watched grow, many express excitement at seeing their hard work completed, Campbell said.
“You could feel a sense of accomplishment in the kids,” she said. “They got to see this whole thing come to fruition.”