Diocesan News

Fifth-graders from Lourdes Central raise, release trout for state aquarium

Catholic school in Nebraska City partners with Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

Story by Tammy Partsch

NEBRASKA CITY (SNR) - Over the last few months, fifth-grade students at Lourdes Central Catholic School in Nebraska City have learned more than they ever thought they would about trout, thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

The grant, sponsored by the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, gave the students the opportunity to raise trout in their classroom. 

Lourdes Central fifth-grade teacher Beth Box said 300 Rainbow Trout eggs arrived in early February. Box and her co-teacher, Amanda Staroscik, taught the students how to maintain water conditions and provide a thriving habitat for the fish.

“This program offers such a great experience to our students and teaches them so much about the life cycles and conservation issues that fish in the wild face,” Box said.

The trout grew in a 55-gallon, insulated, cool-water tank in the fifth-grade classroom. Box said that just over a week after receiving the eggs, they started to hatch.

The students learned that death is a part of life; partway through the project, the fifth-graders visited a biology class at Lourdes Central Catholic High School with a cup of dead trout they had scooped from the tank. The high school biology students showed the fifth-graders how to dissect the trout and learn from the experience.

As a part of the project, the students took a field trip to the Ak-Sar-Ban Aquarium at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna April 13.  That day, the students released their trout into a pond at the aquarium. 

Parents were encouraged to join the students on the field trip.  Debbie Bruggeman’s daughter Ruby is a fifth-grader and Bruggeman said she was the “unofficial photographer” for the field trip.

“I was so impressed with all the kids learned,” Bruggeman said.  “They were able to answer all the questions presented to them regarding their project.”

Father Mark Cyza, principal at Lourdes Central Catholic School, said he thought the trout project has been a positive experience for the fifth-graders.

“We always talk to our students about the miracle of life, but this project actually helps them to see that miracle in action,” Father Cyza said. “I also hope that it will help our students develop a greater appreciation for the wonder of God’s creation.”

Editor’s Note: The fifth grade blogged about the project at www.lourdescentralcatholic.org.

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