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Trout in the Classroom

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is pleased to offer Nebraska 2nd – 12th grade classrooms the opportunity to participate in the Nebraska Trout in the Classroom Program. This interdisciplinary, science-based program invites classrooms and schools to explore aquatic ecosystems, life cycles, water quality and the scientific process through raising trout eggs in their classroom.

This program, a partnership between the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Nebraska Trout Unlimited Chapter 710, provides schools with not only trout eggs but also curriculum and technical assistance throughout the year.

Apply to Participate in TIC

The 2023-2024 TIC application period is now closed.

How the program works

Participating classrooms set-up a cold-water aquarium in their classroom or school. Soon after each school is provided rainbow trout eggs. Students take ownership of caring for both their trout and the aquarium habitat by testing water quality, feeding their trout, and monitoring growth and development.  As the program progresses, students see connections between their trout, water resources, the environment and themselves.  Students learn first-hand how all aspects of a trout’s life cycle, food web, and habitat are interconnected and impacted by the environment.

Through the Nebraska Trout in the Classroom Program, you can expect your students to learn about:

  • Life cycles: raising trout from egg to fingerlings/juveniles
  • Water quality: daily measurements and an understanding of water quality for aquatic animals
  • The scientific process: data collection, recording and drawing conclusions
  • Food webs: aquatic food webs and the interdependence and ecology of these webs
  • Nebraska habitats: including wetlands, cool water streams and watersheds
  • Conservation ethics: the role humans play in the ecology of our ecosystems

Annual project timeline

  • June 10, 2024: Scholarship and TIC applications are open
  • Aug. 31, 2024: Scholarship and TIC applications are closed
  • Sept. 16, 2024: Schools notified regarding scholarship awards
  • Nov. 4, 2024: Schools need to have procured all equipment
  • Dec. 2, 2024: Have attended 1 mandatory training (exact locations and dates TBD. 2-3 workshops will be offered across the state)
  • Dec. 27, 2024: Tank is set-up and running
  • Jan. 10, 2025: Students take TIC pre-test (on this date or before)
  • Jan. 15, 2025: Trout eggs shipped or picked-up (approximate date, official date TBD)
  • January-May, 2025: Trout are reared in the classroom
  • April-May, 2025: Field Trips throughout the state (specific dates TBD)
  • May 9, 2025: Students take TIC post-test (on this date or before)

Required equipment

Nebraska Game and Parks annually contributes fertilized rainbow trout eggs, trout feed, training, curriculum, technical support, field trip opportunities and additional educational resources to participating schools. Participating schools are required to obtain the following equipment to hatch and raise rainbow trout. Estimated start-up costs are about $1,300. The predominant cost is in the water chiller, which is required to support a cool water species.

  • Aqua Euro USA 1/4 HP Max Chill Chiller*
  • AquaClear 110 Power Filter – Up to 110 gal.*
  • Whisper 60 Aquarium Air Pump – 60 Gallons*
  • Add-a-Stone Airstone – 10 in. x 2 in. x 1/2 in.*
  • Mag Drive 700 Water Pump with 10 ft. Cord*
  • Freshwater Substrate – River Jewels – 10 lb.*
  • Lee’s Squeeze-Bulb Ultra Gravel Vac with on/off Valve*
  • Aquarium Net*
  • Net Breeder*
  • Battery Operated Digital Thermometer*
  • Outlet Tube & Diffuser Magnum 350 Canister Filter*
  • Check Valve*
  • Flexible Airline Tubing – 8 ft.*
  • Flexible Tubing – 5/8 in. diameter*
  • Female Insert Adapter – FPT x Insert – 1/2 in. x 1/2 in.*
  • 40-50 Gallon Breeder Aquarium & suitable surface to hold its weight**

Items on the above lists denoted with an * are available at a competitive price to TIC classrooms as a kit (we recommend kit #3) from That Pet Place, but can also be purchased separately. Aquariums (denoted with **) are not supplied as part of the TIC kit from That Pet Place, but can typically be purchased from major pet suppliers during semi-annual gallon sales for $1/gallon capacity.

  • API Freshwater Master Test Kit*
  • Microbe-Lift Special Blend – 16 oz.*
  • Nite Out II – 16 oz.*
  • NovAqua Plus Water Conditioner – 16 oz.*
  • Chemi-Pure Aquarium Filter Media – 10 oz.*
  • Replacement filter media (charcoal, foam, bio-pellets)*

Items on the above lists denoted with an * are available at a competitive price to TIC classrooms as a kit (we recommend kit #3) from That Pet Place, but can also be purchased separately. Aquariums (denoted with **) are not supplied as part of the TIC kit from That Pet Place, but can typically be purchased from major pet suppliers during semi-annual gallon sales for $1/gallon capacity.

  • Marina Battery Operated Air Pump for fish transport
  • Turkey baster to remove dead eggs
  • Two 5-gallon buckets for water changes
  • Styrofoam insulation & duct tape to incubate aquarium
  • Power strip
  • Tulle or mesh to cover filter intake

Cost of participation

The estimated start-up cost for participating schools is approximately $1,300. Local and national grants, scholarships and fundraising resources relevant to this project are also listed below.

Please note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. There are often local funding sources available for this type of project. We suggest approaching your school board and parent teacher groups for ideas.

Sponsors

Trout in the Classroom is made possible through funding from:

Contact us

Have questions about Trout in the Classroom and how it works?

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