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November 4, 2016, (718) 595-6600

Students from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens Raise Trout in Their Classrooms and Learn About Protecting New York Waterways


Photos are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) joined Trout Unlimited, Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium, and nearly 150 NYC school students this past Wednesday to witness the centuries-old process of egg stripping and fertilization using live brook trout at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant’s Visitor Center. NYC school students in grades 5 through 12 participated from: Queens Alternative Learning Center at RF Wagner High School and Forest Hills High School in Queens; Fort Hamilton High School, PS 110, and MS 266 in Brooklyn; and AmPark Neighborhood School in the Bronx.

“The Trout in the Classroom program provides a tangible and practical way to educate elementary, middle and high school students about the importance of preserving the rivers, streams, reservoirs, and lakes that supply the world class drinking water that more than 9 million New Yorkers enjoy every day,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.

“Trout Unlimited is thrilled to continue to work with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, our longtime partner in education,” said Lilli Genovesi, the Watershed and New York City Trout in the Classroom Coordinator. “Through the watersheds and New York City Trout in the Classroom program, young people engage in a multi-disciplinary study of freshwater ecosystems, fish lifecycles, and the New York City water supply system, that will ultimately help them become lifetime advocates for clean water and conservation.  We are so proud of these students and their teachers who are monitoring and caring for their trout, from eggs to fingerlings, and preparing for their ultimate release into watershed streams.”

“Seeing the students’ reactions to the extraction and fertilization of the trout eggs was an incredible experience. We are always looking for innovative opportunities that provide teachable moments that allow us to get the students out of the classroom to do hands-on STEM. Having them be part of this process is what being a citizen scientist is all about, and an experience they will always remember,” said Brooklyn’s MS 266 teacher Illana Gagliardi.

During the presentations students witnessed a fascinating aspect of aquaculture, as hatchery staff demonstrated a technique of fish breeding which involves taking and fertilizing trout eggs using hatchery-raised adult brook trout. Some of the schools took eggs back to their classrooms to raise, which will be released back into watershed streams in the spring. Trout serve as important indicator species that aid DEP scientists in monitoring the health of the streams that fill our reservoirs and supply drinking water for millions of New Yorkers.

Since 2002, DEP educators and Trout Unlimited, with support from the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC), have worked together to educate students in New York City and watershed communities about the importance of protecting our shared water resources through the Trout in the Classroom program. To learn more about Trout in the Classroom in New York City and the New York City Watersheds, sponsor a school, get a school involved, or volunteer at the next Trout Release Field Day, visit the DEP website.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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(718) 595-6600