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Green in Action Runner-Up

Castleton Village School

Castleton, VT

 Our project is a school wide habitat restoration project that lasts the entire year and spans the 3 grades.

In the beginning of the year, the 6th graders make observations and gather data in the river behind the school to make an assessment of the health of the river. We present our findings to a professor from Castleton College, and he shares his students' findings from the same stretch of river. We submit our data to 2 online citizen science sites, one of which is the UVM watershed alliance stream monitoring program.

Toward the end of this unit, we receive 200 brook trout eggs from a local state-run hatchery. We partner with Trout unlimited to raise these trout in our classroom.

All grades apply their knowledge of watershed health to maintain a livable environment for our trout.

Meanwhile, the 7th graders are learning about trees, terrestrial ecology, and evolution. In May, we have a school-wide field trip on which we release our trout into a small tributary of the river, and then head to Bomoseen State Park to work with forest professionals to remove invasive terrestrial plant species. All students and teachers take part and we make a visible difference in the park.

The 6th graders learn about what invasive species are and how they affect ecosystems. The 7th and 8th graders focus on the evolutionary basis for the existence of invasive species and how they might affect the evolution of native species.

So, culminating at the end of the year we fully take part in an authentic habitat restoration project, both releasing native fish and removing invasive plants, and all of this is embedded in our curriculum, which applies math and science standards.

Here is a  link to a  WCAX news feature on the trout element of this project.