Lyons Elementary Trout Release Engages Students in Meaningful Science

Male Student releases rainbow trout into St. Vrain River

On May 24, 2022, Lyons Elementary School’s yearlong Trout in the Classroom program culminated in students releasing eight rainbow trout into the St. Vrain River. Lyons Elementary fifth grade students have been working hard all year to hatch and raise the rainbow trout eggs in preparation for the trout’s introduction to the St. Vrain River ecosystem. 

The chilly, overcast weather did not dampen the excitement the students felt as they were able to see the payoff of their efforts throughout the year. Eight groups of five students raised and released the trout, with each student tasked with an important assignment. These assignments included naming the fish (one was named “Reggie” and another “Squidward”), daily monitoring of the temperature and water quality of the tanks, running parallel tests of the St. Vrain River throughout the year to compare data and verify river health, and releasing the fish into the St. Vrain River.

This is the fourth year of the trout release program at the school. “We were looking for a project where we could engage in meaningful science in our local community,” said Andrew Moore, Lyons Elementary Principal. “We were approached by Trout Unlimited to introduce trout into our curriculum.”

The curriculum helps prepare the fifth graders for environmental science courses at Lyons Middle Senior High School. “The program works in tandem with ongoing water monitoring of the St. Vrain River,” said Moore. “It is an opportunity to practice data literacy in an applied context, preparing students for sixth grade environmental science when students will participate in a more comprehensive study of the St. Vrain River watershed.”

The students are aware of the positive impact their work is having on the local ecosystem. “We helped add to a key watershed species,” said fifth grade Lyons Elementary student Brooke Bell. “The ecosystem would fall apart without the rainbow trout.”