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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: March 19, 2004
Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418

Students Learn Environmental Stewardship

PROVIDENCE - Students in 14 Rhode Island schools are raising salmon in their classrooms in a program sponsored by the Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish and Wildlife to introduce youngsters to aquaculture while complementing the Department's established salmon restoration program.

Participating schools in eight communities from Woonsocket to Wood River Junction have been loaned equipment by DEM to construct an incubator system for salmon eggs, which are being hatched in the classrooms and raised to the fry stage to be stocked in the Pawcatuck River and its tributaries.

"The overall lesson," says Christine Dudley, DEM supervising wildlife biologist and aquatic education specialist, "is to teach young people how to become stewards of their environment and take responsibility for their actions concerning the environment."

As an initial component of the "Salmon in the Classroom" program, a teacher from each participating school attended a day of training by DEM aquatic educators in January to learn about salmon biology, the Pawcatuck River watershed, how to implement the program, and how to build an incubator. The schools received the eggs, donated by the US Fish and Wildlife North Attleboro, MA fish hatchery, in mid-February.

While the eggs are hatching and developing into fry, the teachers are presenting their classes with a curriculum that ranges from salmon biology and ecology to the history of Rhode Island's Industrial Revolution via bookwork and field trips. Teachers and their students will conduct a habitat assessment of the designated stocking area in late April. Actual stocking, in accordance with DEM's salmon restoration program, will begin in May.

The federally funded education program, at a cost of about $900 per school, was first introduced in the United States about 10 years ago by the Connecticut River Salmon Association and is now used in all New England states. This year marks its introduction to Rhode Island schools through DEM's aquatic resource education program.

Schools participating in the program include:

Cranston Hugh B. Bain Middle School
  Cranston Area Career & Technical Center
  Cranston High School West
Coventry Coventry High School
Narragansett Narragansett High School
Providence Feinstein High School
South Kingstown South Kingstown High School
Warwick Bishop Hendricken School
  Gorton Junior High School
  Warwick Veterans Memorial High School
  Winman Junior High School
Wood River Junction Chariho Middle School
Woonsocket Mount St. Charles Academy
  Woonsocket High School

* To make arrangements to speak with participating teachers, please call Christine Dudley at DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife at 789-0281.


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