Trout in the Classroom 2.0 – Awarded $1,500
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley was honored to award this grant to Friends of the Teton River (FTR) to expand its Trout in the Classroom program to three additional classrooms. The Foundation strongly supports FTR’s effort to further hands-on and online science education in every school in Teton Valley. This application also leveraged a partnership with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game and Teton Valley Trout Unlimited.
FTR’s Watershed Education Program has provided enriching hands-on science programs to local schools since 2003, employing a full-time Education Director to coordinate programs for K-12 students and adults. Teachers throughout the watershed use FTR’s district-approved Teton Watershed Curriculum for K-12 students, which currently reaches ~500 students per year through custom-designed and facilitated field programs and in-classroom sessions. Maintaining a relevant watershed education program is a part of FTR’s Strategic Plan, and the organization believes that educating community members of all ages is essential to leaving a legacy of clean water and healthy streams for future generations. The goals of the community education program are to 1) provide community members with the knowledge, skills, and motivations to conserve water resources in Teton Valley; 2) increase water resource stewardship through informed decision-making; and 3) inspire the next generation of watershed scientists.
One of the programs that has helped meet these goals at the K-12 level is the Trout in the Classroom Program. This program has grown since 2009 and is one of FTR’s primary school-age offerings, however, there are not enough aquarium tanks and supplies to offer it to any of the K-8 public schools in Driggs. Due to some transitioning of school district teaching staff with the opening of the new elementary schools last year, some of the tanks moved with the classrooms, leaving Driggs without a single Trout in the Classroom tank. FTR has requested funding for the addition of three full tank set-ups, including a chiller (essential for a cold-water trout species), a pump (for water circulation), filters, hoses, and gravel; and two aquariums (FTR already has one aquarium that it can provide in-kind) to add three classrooms in Driggs—one at the elementary, upper elementary, and middle school levels. At present, there is one 1st grade class interested in hosting a tank this year, so funding was based on that current scenario.
The Community Foundation commends the important work of Friends of the Teton River and its successful Trout in the Classroom program that brings science to life for Teton Valley students, inspiring them to be engaged in conserving our precious water resources, right here at home.