Skip to main content

Students learn that fish grow on trees

03/26/2014 02:20PM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print, Schools


Stroud Water Research Center director Bernard Sweeney will conduct one of the teaching stations to help students understand why recent tree-planting activities benefit fish and other stream dwellers.



At 9 a.m. on March 28, Pocopson Elementary fifth grade students will release brook trout they have raised from eggs into the stream that runs behind the school at 1105 Pocopson Rd. in West Chester.

The trout release day will conclude a year-long environmental education program called "Trout in the Classroom" designed to foster knowledge about cold-water conservation in students. and encourage continued participation in conservation, management and outdoor recreation programs. Students raised trout from eggs, monitored tank water quality, recorded fish behavior, engaged in stream habitat study and learned to appreciate water resources. During the trout release day, students will participate in one of five culminating program activates.

Stroud Water Research Center director Bernard Sweeney, Ph.D., will conduct one of those teaching stations to help the students understand why recent tree planting on the school’s campus benefits fish and other stream dwellers.

“When settlers first came to this country, the land was heavily forested and trout were plentiful in all the streams. But over time we cleared land for agriculture, timber harvesting and development,” Sweeney said. “This deforestation and associated human activities reduced water quality and led to the demise of many local trout populations.”

Studies show that trees planted along stream banks, called stream-side forest buffers, help filter pollutants, prevent bank erosion, keep stream channels wide, normalize temperatures, and provide a variety of food in the form of leaves, shade-loving algae, and dissolved substances.

“Trout grow on trees,” Sweeney joked. “Stream-side forests help streams regain enough of their natural characteristics to once again support natural communities of aquatic plants and animals, including trout.” 

Principal Dr. Andrew McLaughlin said students cared for the trout on a daily basis, while their teachers incorporated environmental lessons into the classroom, which helped students understand ecosystems and develop a conservation ethic. The Pocopson PTO supported the program.

“At first, I wasn't sure how the kids would respond, but they are really proud of their accomplishment and what they learned,” said McLaughlin. “They even drew pictures of underwater scenes for the back of the fish tank.” The students will release about 150 trout fingerlings into the stream. 

The "Trout in the Classroom" program is supported by a partnership between Valley Forge Trout Unlimited  and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The partnership provides curriculum resources, workshops for teachers and program partners, technical support, brook trout eggs, fish food and grant funding.

Others who will present learning modules to the students include: Andrew Desko, South Eastern Regional Specialist for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, who will teach fly-casting; Terry Peach, owner of Marblehead Flyfisher Inc., who will talk about fly-fishing; and a representative from Trout Unlimited.


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



pocopson elementary school stroud water research center fishing


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Holidays at Hagley: A Child's Delight

    12/05/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and i...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    12/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    12/08/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, September 15th thru Thursday...


  • Holidays at Hagley: A Child's Delight

    12/08/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and i...


  • Christmas by Candlelight

    12/08/2016
    01:00PM

    Christmas by Candlelight, a heartwarming celebration of the yuletide season, is back by popular d...


  • Nature Studio

    12/08/2016
    04:00PM — 05:30AM

    Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts J...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    12/08/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto

    12/08/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto By Pete Pryor & Samantha Reading Music & Lyrics by Alex Bech...


  • The Road: My Life with John Denver

    12/08/2016
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    The Road: My Life with John Denver By Randal Myler & Dan Wheetman Directed by Randal Myler Dec...


Chester County High School Sports