These are the things our schools are learning about. This Fall, High Tech North County students took their annual trip to Miramar Lake to release their young trout. “To enjoy its new environment, to take in all the greatness in the lake, to make new friends, I wish for this fish to live a life to its fullest,” one student wished before she let her fish go.
Steelhead trout were once abundant in southern California, but their populations have plummeted due to urban development, dams, and degraded water quality conditions. The Escondido Creek Conservancy has a dream to one day repopulate Escondido Creek with steelhead, but for that to happen, the water quality of the creek needs to improve to levels that can support this sensitive species.
As part of our Education Strategic Plan’s goal to foster stewardship, we had a mandate to provide local schools with a real-world environmental project and nine local schools took the bait this school year! While only three schools participated in the fall (Conway Elementary, High Tech High North County, and High Tech Elementary North County), the rest will be raising and releasing their fish friends during the January semester. As students care for the fish, they come to realize the importance of clean water and healthy ecosystems. We hope to inspire these students to someday apply what they’ve learned in this program to local projects that can transform their communities in the Escondido Creek watershed.
The program is made possible thanks to a generous grant through SDG&E’s Environmental Champions initiative. The grant provides funding for all the equipment, and it also covers the transportation cost for the participating schools to take fieldtrips to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and experience our Watersheds curriculum. After completing the program, students will have a clear understanding of watersheds, water quality, and civic engagement.