SPOKANE -- Trout are spawning a watershed of educational opportunities for Spokane County kids.
A thousand fertilized rainbow eggs divvied out to 10 elementary schools have hatched a semester of lessons in reading, writing, math and science, said Stacey Selcho, Spokane Conservation District education coordinator.
Selcho helps organize the Trout in the Classroom program initiated with a grant and expertise from Trout Unlimited.
The program outfits schools who have science teachers willing to turn a corner of their rooms into a small-fry fish hatchery.
Each school raises 100 eggs provided by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department's Spokane Fish Hatchery. Students monitor tank water quality and other science-related lessons energized by the excitement of seeing the trout develop.
Eye-stage eggs delivered to the schools in January incubate in the flowing water of the fish tanks. Students use eye-droppers to pluck out any dead eggs to prevent fungus from spreading in the tanks.
The students can keep nearly nose-to-nose tabs on the fish as they hatch, absorb their yolk sacs and develop into frisky fingerlings.
The effort is culminated with the Trout Turnout, which occurred the last week of April at Liberty Lake and Bear Lake.
"It costs about $1,300 to outfit a classroom, and that's a good investment," said Mike Keegan, Spokane Fly Fishers conservation chairman.
"We'd like to involve more of the community and expand the program," said Bill Abrahamse, Trout Unlimited's Spokane Falls Chapter president.