Fish in Schools program to begin in Preeceville

            The Preeceville School announced that it will be part of the Fish in Schools program in which the school is scheduled to receive 100 perch fish eggs at the end of January.

            "The students will have the opportunity to learn about and understand the different cycles a fish goes through," said Bill Dodge, teacher. The valuable resources that the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation will supply the students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 is huge.

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            “Students will have a real hands-on experience in learning about fish and will have the satisfaction of seeing the fish released into Lady Lake after they have reached  the five centimetre stage," he said.

            The school has already received the 20-gallon tank and all the supplies required including the filter and food.

            The 100 perch eggs are scheduled to arrive at the end of January, he said. The eggs will be in the two-eye stage.

            "The real challenge will be raising them with the goal of a high survival rate before their release," said Dodge.

            The program was offered by the Preeceville branch of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation after Heather Gawrelitza, secretary, had approached the school after doing research from the program at other schools.

            "I thought it would be great if we could get this going in our school so I contacted Doug King, principal, to see if this is something our school could do,” she said.

            "Bill Dodge, who teaches the wildlife class, and Heidi Paterson, who teaches biology at the Preeceville School, expressed interest in the program as well.

            “Once I knew the school would be interested, I then contacted our Preeceville wildlife club directors and board to get the OK to go ahead with the application,” Gawrelitza said. “I think we had a very good chance of being accepted because Lady Lake is so close to us for releasing the fish.”

            The branch members act as liaisons between the school and the provincial Fish in Schools program co-ordinator out of the SWF central office, she said.  The local branch sponsors the program and is responsible for getting the equipment set up in the school, assists with maintenance of the equipment, delivers the eggs to the school and assists with the releasing of the fish. 

            "Now that the main equipment is purchased and at our school we can continue to do this every year," she said. "The Yorkton Regional High School is currently in the program and its fish are released into the Yorkton Trout Pond so it is great to be able to offer our Preeceville students the experience as well.

            "The Preeceville Wildlife Club is very happy to offer this program and looks forward to a release party at Lady Lake in June that everyone can come and support.”

            The Fish in Schools program was developed in Alberta as an educational initiative that provides a firsthand look at fish and aquatic habitat in the classroom.

            "We will be receiving the eyed trout eggs at the end of January which will be placed into the special classroom incubators over the course of three to four months and the tank will be monitored to assure the correct conditions required for survival.”

            Around the middle of June the fish are to be released by the students and the members of the Preeceville wildlife club into Lady Lake. The Fish in Schools program will provide an opportunity for students to learn.

            The program also involves raising rainbow trout and releasing them, she said.