Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Eastern PA Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation Joins Trout In The Classroom

The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, based in Ashley, Luzerne County, is taking part in the PA Trout in the Classroom Program.
After receiving 200 fish eggs in the fall of 2016, EPCAMR staff is looking forward to raising the Pennsylvania state fish until their release in the summer of 2017. The nonprofit organization offers educational programs, grant writing, and assistance to regional school districts upon request.
Roughly 60 brook trout, currently within the Alevin-Fry stage of development, are growing in EPCAMR’s office as part of a 9 month program.
Staff conduct feedings, tank maintenance and water quality tests each week to ensure positive and healthy development, which is capable of being viewed by the public through the organization’s live video feed.
Local education systems are encouraged to view the process via internet and are invited to see the native species in person upon request.
Should a school want to pursue the Trout in the Classroom Program, EPCAMR is available to walk them through necessary steps such as budget, tank maintenance and water quality monitoring responsibilities, as well as the curriculum that EPCAMR staff had been trained in during an orientation at the Benner Springs Trout Nursery, earlier this past Fall.
EPCAMR is also offering to speak with classrooms about the process, the importance of clean water, stream restoration and the promotion of healthy ecosystems, since the organization’s mission is based on revitalizing polluted waterways affected by past mining efforts.
“The brook trout is part of the program because they are actually bioindicators of pollution in freshwater streams,” Robert Hughes, Executive Director of EPCAMR said. “The trout will be released in Solomon Creek this June, since that is a designated cold water wild trout fishery. The Stanley Cooper Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Ashley Trout Stocking Association have been invited to participate in the release and we’ll be looking for some assistance from a local classroom to help.”
EPCAMR’s participation in the Trout In the Classroom program is made possible through a unique partnership between Fish and Boat Commission and PA Council of Trout Unlimited.
This partnership, coupled with assistance from local conservation organizations, was created to introduce students to coldwater resources and their importance to all communities.
The partnership also provides brook trout eggs, trout food, technical assistance, curriculum connections and teacher workshops each year.
The program is also made possible due to a donated 45 gallon tank by EPCAMR’s Program Manager, Mike Hewitt, EPCAMR’s Environmental Education Fund, as well as the Stanley Cooper Chapter of Trout Unlimited who donated $400 towards supplies.
For more information on programs, initiatives, services and upcoming events, visit the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation website.

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