Browne’s middle school science department has an ongoing partnership with the Northern Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited to raise trout from eggs, eventually releasing the fish back into the wild. This year’s eggs recently arrived and are acclimating to their new home in the middle school atrium. Seventh and eighth graders will study the trout’s life cycle, as well as conduct water testing and learn how to care for fish that rely on clean and cold water as their habitat. Once the fish hatch, 7/8 science teacher Eric March and his students will set up an aquaponics system in the tank; the fish waste will supply nutrients for the plants, which in turn will purify the water for the trout. Although middle school students are primarily responsible for caring for the trout, our younger students also have the opportunity to observe the fish’s growth throughout the process.
Mr. March commented, "The trout program at Browne gives the students a concrete experience to anchor their learning. Trout life cycles can be a very abstract concept, but when students can actually see the trout growing from egg to fingerling over the course of the entire school year, they develop an appreciation for the fish as an organism and really appreciate the fish as a part of their community. This, in turn, will allow them to see the benefit of doing everything they can to be good stewards of the environment.”
With the trout program's success, Mr. March has been a featured speaker at both the National Science Teaching Association and the Northern Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited.