Trout In the Classroom

Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a conservation-oriented environmental education program for elementary, middle, and high school students.  During the year, each teacher tailors the program to fit his or her curricular needs.  Therefore, each TIC program is unique.  TIC has interdisciplinary applications in science, social studies, mathematics, language arts, fine arts, and physical education. 

In the program, students and teachers raise trout from fertilized eggs supplied by the Virginia Wildlife Resources (DWR)hatcheries in aquariums equipped with special chillers designed to keep the water near 50 degrees F.  The students measure daily temperature and monitor pH and ammonia levels with test kits.  They record their data, plot trends, and ensure the water quality is sufficient to support trout development.  The fingerlings hatch in late October and are almost an inch and a half long by mid-January.  And towards the end of the school year, students will release the fry into VGIF-approved watersheds. 

TIC programs have been in place nationwide for more than 20 years. They result from numerous collaborations between teachers, volunteers, government agencies, and local organizations like Trout Unlimited.  The programs were designed specifically for teachers who wanted to incorporate environmental education into their curriculum. 

While the immediate goal of Trout in the Classroom is to increase student knowledge of water quality and cold water conservation, its long-term goal is to reconnect an increasingly urbanized population of youth to the system of streams, rivers, and watersheds that sustain them.  Successful programs have helped: 

  • connect students to their local environments and their local watersheds; 
  • teach about watershed health and water quality, and; 
  • get students to care about fish and the environment. 

Thanks to grants and chapter fundraising efforts, we now have over 150 classrooms throughout the state, ranging from elementary to high school. 

The Massanutten Chapter of Trout Unlimited manages and oversees about 25 tanks in the Rockingham/Harrisonburg area.    We provide TIC equipment, technical assistance, and educational support to teachers interested in raising trout in their classrooms. In October, teachers receive eggs from Paint Bank Fish Hatchery.  From October to May, students see the lifecycle of the brook trout from egg to alevin to parr.   In the spring, the brook trout are released in a local stream approved by the Department of Wildlife Resources.  “Our goal is to have a tank in each of our elementary, middle, and high schools.  This way, we can guarantee that all students experience a meaningful watershed experience. This program helps students appreciate and respect our local natural resources,” says Jeff Peake, coordinator of TIC for the Massanutten Chapter of TU.  For more information about Trout in the Classroom in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham area, please contact Jeff Peake at   

Resources for teachers are also available on the National Trout Unlimited website at 

To donate to our program, please click HERE.  All funds will be used to purchase TIC equipment that is given to schools.   

Schools participating in TIC include the following:  

Harrisonburg City Public Schools 

Bluestone Elementary School, Spotswood Elementary School, Skyline Middle School, Thomas Harrison Middle School, Harrisonburg High School 

Rockingham County Public Schools 

Elkton Middle School, J. Frank Hillyard Middle School, Wilbur Pence Middle School, Montevideo Middle School, Ottobine Elementary School, Mountain View Elementary School, Spotswood High School, Turner Ashby High School, Broadway High School,    

Private Schools 

Eastern Mennonite Middle School, Eastern Mennonite Elementary School.   


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