Vernon’s Walnut Ridge students participate in the Trout in the Classroom program

Each year, students at Walnut Ridge Primary School in Vernon participate in the Trout in the Classroom program sponsored by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and the local chapter of Trout Unlimited. In October of each year, the school receives between 100 and 200 brook trout eggs from Pequest Hatchery, which are raised in a chilled tank in the school’s art room. This year, first grade students viewed the eggs under a microscope, where they could see the eyes, spine, and veins in the developing embryos. In early November, this year’s eggs hatched and the students observed the alevin stage where the fish look like tiny worms with the yolk sac attached. Several weeks later the fish began to swim and the children are enjoying watching them grow into the parr stage. They will be
released as fingerlings into Wawayanda Creek in May. First grade students are making booklets in art class of observational drawings chronicling the development of the trout. Additionally, a group of first grade artists created a mural of the brook trout life cycle which is on display at the Vernon Township Board of Education Office during the month of December, and will be moved to the hallway of Walnut Ridge School in January. Student artists who worked on the mural under the direction of art teacher Denise Docherty include Isabella Castillo, Dominic Clarizio, Colton Cornell, Avia Critchett, Nicholas Ekkers, Randi Ekkers, Joshua Harris, Ethan Lewis, Christopher Ragonese, and Jade Swartz.