From Street School to stream school (of fish)
A science class at Street School did more than just learn about trout this past semester — they raised them, then released them into the wild.
Street School students release trout into the Illinois River on May 8.
Students in Madelyne Jones’ science class at Street School did more than just learn about trout this past semester — they raised them, then released them into the wild. The project spanned October to May and taught students about the importance of fish to lakes and streams, Jones says.
The project was made possible by a grant from the Tulsa Chapter of Trout Unlimited, which paid for a 55-gallon tank and other equipment needed to raise trout from eggs. Jones’ father, Eddie Jones, is a local chapter member of Trout Unlimited and served as a classroom volunteer throughout the Street School project. Her mother also volunteered with the class.
However, the experience went beyond just a science lesson. All 35 students traveled with Jones to the Illinois River south of Lake Tenkiller Dam near Gore, Oklahoma, in May to release the trout. Many had never been outside of Tulsa County, Madelyne Jones says.
In addition to releasing trout, students learned to tie a fly, cast fishing rods and hunt for fossils. Most importantly, students were able to experience a world outside the classroom. “It was my opportunity to share the outdoors with these kids,” Jones says. “It gave them an opportunity to connect with nature.”
From an early age, Jones says her father taught her how to fly fish and about the importance of fish to the ecosystem. She says she was proud to be able to share these lessons with her students and with the support of her own parents.
“Many of these kids are surrounded by stress in their homelife and at school,” she says. “Being outside is a way to release stress and anxiety, it’s quiet, it’s stimulating to the senses.”