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MAMS Conservation Program in Fourth Year

Mars Area Middle School is celebrating the fourth year of its “Trout in the Classroom,” a cold water conservation education program, that offers students an opportunity to raise brook trout from eggs to fingerlings in a classroom aquarium.

The program, offered for seventh-graders and students in Amanda Stavish’s eighth grade science classes, discusses the management, protection, current and past impacts on Pennsylvania’s cold water resources as well as opportunities for enhancement.

This school year, Dr. Roy Weitzell, Chatham University aquatics laboratory director, at has been instrumental in helping to maintain the middle school program, says Mary Jo Phillips, seventh grade science teacher. Since its first year, Weitzell has helped to set up and maintain the program.

After the school’s 150 rainbow trout were lost in a planned power outage during construction on the middle school’s renovation project in early November, Weitzell put science teachers in contact with Ryan Woods, a fourth grade teacher Eden Hall Upper Elementary School (Pine-Richland). While Mars Area Middle School awaited replacement trout from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Wood’s class donated 25 rainbow trout fry so that students could continue their observations and water quality testing.

Middle school students are keeping in touch with Mr. Woods’ class so they know how the fry are doing, says Phillips. And, Weitzell continues to offer his assistance with the program.

The “Trout in the Classroom” program, provided through a partnership with the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited and Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, incorporates the subjects of ecology, environmental science, chemistry and mathematics and makes connections with other areas of the curriculum.

For more information, call (724) 625-3145.