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Students raise trout in Georgia classrooms

A student examines a spoon full of trout eggs as a class works on the Trout in the Classroom project sponsored by Trout Unlimited at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School on Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, Richard Hamm)

A student examines a spoon full of trout eggs as a class works on the Trout in the Classroom project sponsored by Trout Unlimited at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School on Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, Richard Hamm)

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School students in Melissa Paul's class are used to hand-on projects; class lessons have included raising chickens, growing poinsettias and making cheese.

Last week, students were introduced to their newest experiment: raising trout from tiny eggs.

"What's interesting to me is to ... see how the life cycle's going to be," said eighth-grader Datalion Terrell.

The 70-gallon tank and more than 500 trout eggs came from the Athens-area chapter of Trout Unlimited, said Ken Calkin. He is a member of the nonprofit group that dedicates time to the conservation of and education about the cold streams and rivers that make up trout habitats.

"It's primarily to get kids aware and interested in cold water conservation and (making) them aware of what fish are about," Calkin said.

This is the fourth year that the Athens-area group has helped local schools bring trout into the classroom, he said.

Another group of trout eggs went to a classroom at Winder-Barrow Middle School, Calkin said.

Trout eggs need lower temperatures than other fish — about 50 degrees — so each classroom tank also includes a chiller. Students will check the temperature and acidity of the water in the tank every day, Paul said.

"We're trying to simulate nature," she told her class.

After the fish break out of their eggs and mature, they'll be released into nearby streams and rivers.

"I just think it's cool to raise the trout and then release them into the wild," said student Garrett Holland.

Learning about how fish live is interesting — and having live examples makes it even better, Holland said.

Trout Unlimited already has the state Department of Natural Resources' permission to release the trout in area waterways, Calkin said.

"Some of them may even survive, so one of us may catch it in the future," he said.


Information from: Athens Banner-Herald