Trout in the Classroom

Our Trout in the Classroom (“TIC”) program, operated in conjunction with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”), is about to ramp up for this coming school year.  This watershed aquatic education program focuses on trout, how and where they live, adaptations and anatomy, life cycles, and life in the riparian zones.  The flagship of TIC is the raising of baby trout in the classroom from eggs to young fish (fry) that will be released into the Lagunitas Watershed. Teachers are now reapplying for the program or signing up to join the program.  If you know a teacher who may be interested in becoming part of TIC, have them contact Ethan Rotman at CDFW ( as soon as possible so they can be added to his notification list. 

Also, we can always use a few more volunteers to assist teachers and classes in learning more about trout.  The commitment is short-term and is coordinated between the volunteer and the teacher.  Contact Chuck Schultz at  or 415-472-5837 for more information.



More than 2,700 fertilized trout eggs were delivered to classrooms in late February. Students observe the eggs, watch them hatch and follow their development as the fish become free swimming fry. After about five weeks, the fish are released under the provisions of the CDFW issued permit. Today, using rainbow trout, the program serves 78 classrooms across Marin County, impacting more than 1,600 students from preschool through 8th grade.

Click on this link Trout in the Classroom 2015 or the picture below to access a video created by Ed Dudkowski on the NBTU Trout in the Classroom program.  Click Here to read a story by the Marin Independent Journal and Here for a segment that appeared on KTVU on TIC in 2015. If you are interested in becoming a "coach" for a local classroom, please contact us at We need your help.



"When will the eggs arrive?"
"When will they hatch?"
"Can I take a fish home?"
"How do you tell if they are boy or girl fish?"  

These are some of the questions which were asked by students across Marin and in San Francisco.  The focus of their thinking is a natural part of Trout in the Classroom.  NBTU sponsored 75 classrooms which studied the many and varied aspects of trout and salmon and where and how they live.

All of the teachers involved participated in a weekend seminar organized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) to acquaint themselves with the types of salmonids, where they live, requirements for survival, watersheds, pollution, fish anatomy, life cycles, and how we, and especially students, may become better stewards of our natural resources.

The depth of the studies depends upon the age level of the students and how the program ties into the Core Standards now in place for California students. We support classes from preschool to high school. Science, art, history, writing skills, reading, organizing data, math, and P.E. can all be part of the TIC activities.

NBTU assists the teachers by providing a cold water aquarium which is on loan to the teacher as long as she/he remains with the program.  We also have coaches who help with aquarium set-up and occasionally visit the class to share information about the fish, check the operation of the equipment and lend a hand with fish related activities when needed.  The coaches are there to help and assist.  The time is well spent as both the teachers and students appreciate their assistance.

The highlight of Trout in the Classroom is when fertilized trout eggs supplied by CDFW are delivered by TU volunteers to the various classrooms.  Students are involved in placing the eggs in the aquarium and are very anxious as to…"When will they hatch?"  Within a week or so, there are baby fish in classrooms and the "proud parents" can't wait to see their babies each day when they come to class.  It is an exciting time!

The aquarium expense is about $200.00 per classroom.  If you happen to have some fishy funds which could be earmarked for Trout in the Classroom please send them to North Bay TU, P.O. Box 6016, San Rafael, CA 94903 and designate Trout in the Classroom as the beneficiary. We will put it to good use and the kids will benefit.


Feature 3

Saturday, December 8, saw nearly 35 teachers from Marin, Napa, Contra Costa, and Alameda Counties attend the annual area workshop for teachers new to Trout in the Classroom.
The seminar was supported by members of the Classroom Aquarium Education Project of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives of the Marin Municipal Water District, coaches and sponsors from North Bay Chapter, Napa Valley Fly Fishers, Tri Valley Fly Fishers, Diablo Valley Fly Fishers, Mission Peak Fly Fishers, and Aquarium of the Bay, altogether about 48 people were in attendance. DFG plans the agenda and the various representatives and sponsors present topics or add information throughout the day.

Beginning at 9:00 and continuing until almost 4:00, it was a long day, a long but eventful one. Throughout the session there were discussions, visual presentations, activities which involved movement and interacting with other people who gave up their Saturday to learn about the trout, and opportunity to gain some hands-on time in setting up aquariums.
Teachers received overviews of the program, life cycles of the members of the salmonid families, writing and science activities which may be adapted to virtually any age group of students, a review of the permitting process required by the DFG (Fish and Wildlife), and explanations of the services which may be provided to educators and their classes by MMWD and Aquarium of the Bay.
The core activities of a Trout in the Classroom program were reviewed by Laura Honda, a teacher in Fairfax, who has very successfully conducted steelhead and trout in the classroom activities for several years. A teacher's perspective given to other teachers often makes a connection non-educators cannot make. The connection was spot on!
The Project WILD Aquatic K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide was given to each teacher. Project WILD is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program emphasizing wildlife. It is sponsored by 48 U.S. states and territories, 6 foreign countries, and organizations such as American Fisheries Society, Defenders of Wildlife,
National Wildlife Federations, the EPA, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since its inception in 1983 over 100,000 teachers and 53,000,000 students have benefited from its continually evolving curriculum. It is a solid but flexible curriculum which is the best tool a teacher can have.
At day's end, a sampling of the evaluations indicated it was a day well spent, presentations were meaningful, the variety of activities kept the day moving. One person wrote that not once did they look at their watch because of the interest and enjoyment. All this coupled with a great lunch prepared and delivered by Linda Perone and Mike Cronin, how could we miss.?
If you like this idea and would like to see it in a classroom near you, contact
Ethan Rotman at or Chuck Schultz,
Ethan is the coordinator for the Classroom Aquarium Education Program for the Bay Delta Region of The department of Fish and Game.
Chuck heads up Trout in the Classroom for NBTU recruiting coaches, acquiring the needed equipment for the aquarium set-ups we loan to the teachers, managing the program expenses, and helping where needed when emergencies arise.
Also, NBTU supports the Marin teachers by means of coaches who assist the teachers with their aquariums and some classroom visits to talk a bit about fish, perhaps show or demonstrate some fishing gear, and , hopefully, be able to be at the release site when the class releases some small trout they have raised from fertilized eggs received from DFG.
The time commitment is a few hours spread over the January to March period of time.
An aquarium workshop is in the planning stages, you may want to join us for that. If so, let Chuck know so he can notify you.
It's a great program, we can always use some willing help.
Chuck Schultz
For an inside look at North Bay Trout Unlimited's nationally recognized Trout In The Classroom project go to YouTube: Trout In The Classroom 2010 and enjoy professional videographer Ed Dudkowski's hatchery to release documentary. Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a program which, across the country, has been developed to assist teachers and students learn about trout and salmon. Some topics covered include various aspects of their habitat, life cycles, anatomy and adaptations, optimal conditions for survival, challenges facing our fish and other aquatic species, and how the human hand has and can plan a role as caretakers of the environments in which trout are found.
Working in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) Classroom Aquatic Education Program, the Marin Municipal Water District, and Project Wild, TIC has been a growing success in our area. By virtue of donations and grant funding NBTU is able to cover the expenses of providing insulated aquariums with chillers and pumps, and other needed equipment for each teacher in the program.
The equipment remains with the teacher as long as s/he continues participating in the program. Should a person step away from the program the equipment is returned and is made available to another teacher.
DFG coordinates the program regionally and takes care of the required permitting and structuring of the initial seminar for teachers new to the program. During the seminar, which is required of teachers joining TIC, assistance is given to help teachers work with a variety of curriculum ideas which are provided in ways adaptable to several grade levels. DFG also arranges for fertilized trout eggs to be available for each aquarium. The eggs are delivered to the schools in a coordinated relay effort by TU volunteers and while in the aquariums the eggs develop and hatch into baby fish(alevin) and eventually become fry which are free swimming. Project Wild assists with techniques and activities which are proven successes in environmental education. MMWD initially provided seed money and continues to support TIC with watershed and fisheries expertise and arranges for the releasing of the baby trout into some of the MMWD lakes. A grant from the Rockey Fund currently finances the bulk of the TIC program sponsored by NBTU.
Locally, TU volunteers assist the program by serving as mentors to the teachers who have chosen to become part of the program. Our "coaches", as they are known, help with aquarium set up, egg delivery, perhaps some special presentations in the classroom, and with the releasing of the fish. While the teachers are the main force for what happens in the classrooms , the coaches are an important cog in the workings of TIC as they are the contact people whom may assist with fine tuning aquariums, sharing special interests they have dealing with fish or fishing, and serving as an "expert" or special guest who, with the coordination of the teacher may visit the class from time to time to "talk about fish".