A Student Receives His Brook Trout

On Monday, students from Camden Middle School and Camden Elementary School continued a very special wildlife education tradition by releasing hundreds of young brook trout into the Mad River. Under the direction of teachers Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Lapier, and Mrs. Wilcox, 6th and 7th grade students came together to participate. This marks Camden Middle School’s tenth year participating.

The Middle School groups were joined by an elementary level classroom. Mr. Janes and his third grade class from Camden Elementary School participated for the first time.

The classes have been looking after their fish since the Fall, and have brought them up from eggs to stream-ready fish that will enhance the local populations, improve outcomes for the species, and add to the area’s remarkable sport fishing reputation.

This project is made possible through an ongoing collaboration with the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club, and the Tug Hill-Black River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, called the “Trout In The Classroom” program. The clubs provide funding, equipment, learning opportunities to support the classroom curriculum, and of course, fish.

While raising the fish, students learn a great deal about fish, their habitat, and what it takes to ensure a thorough population restoration effort.

On release day, students enjoyed interacting with Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club volunteers led by longtime club officer Paul Miller, who oversees the “Trout In The Classroom” program. He is also part of the Trout Unlimited Chapter and is the Region 6 Vice President for the organization.

Students carefully released their fish into the Mad River in a clear area behind Camden Middle School, and also had the opportunity to learn more about other aquatic life that call the river home, such as crawfish. Students also rotated through educational stations to learn about overfishing, macroinvertebrates, stream health, and fish pathology in partnership with the Rome Fish Hatchery.

For Miller, this undertaking is all about advocacy for natural resources, and helping the next generation to understand the value of those resources to the community.

“Part of our mission at the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club and our Trout Unlimited Chapter is advocacy,” Miller said. “We’re advocating for these fish by helping people to learn about them. If you know what you have here, you’re more likely to cherish it. As a member of this community, we are so fortunate to live here and have such a beautiful place with rich water resources and animal resources. It’s important for the students who live here and are the future of our community to know what’s here.”

The experience is one that resonates with students of all grade levels, as the lessons learned are scalable based on their age and experience. In that spirit, the students were also tasked with releasing some Atlantic Salmon raised by the Conservation classes at Madison-Oneida BOCES, a program that includes many Camden High School students.

Paul Miller

Mr. Janes' Class
Fish ReleaseFish Release
Student With FishEducation Station