Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lake Sturgeon Goes to Help Teach 5th Grade!

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to continue a partnership with Gap Creek Elementary School in Knoxville. Each year the 5th grade class at Gap Creek adopts a Lake Sturgeon to keep in their classroom. This year “Spike”, as the students quickly named him, is living in Ms. Kelly Clemmer’s classroom and will help her teach the students about water chemistry, endangered species, conservation, biology and general responsibility.

"Spike" the Lake Sturgeon was 23 cm long when he moved into the classroom.

Kathlina and Greg, the TNACI fall intern, delivered Spike to the classroom and set him up in his new tank. They led a classroom discussion about how to take care of a Lake Sturgeon and why TNACI is involved in this project. Each day the students will record data about the fish including feedings, tank maintenance, water temperature, pH, ammonia levels, fish length and behavioral observations.

Ms. Clemmer also does a stream lab during the year where students visit a creek and test water quality as well as aquatic insect populations. Taking care of Spike will get them ready to do field work in the spring and will hopefully help them make the connections between fish health, human health and water quality. In November, these students will assist us with the release of our 2012 year class Lake Sturgeon into the French Broad River, which runs right by their school. Their close proximity to the release site is what made this school such a perfect match for this type of partnership. With permission from TWRA we have been able to supply Gap Creek Elementary with a classroom Lake Sturgeon for several years now. Though Spike will never be released into the wild, this fish will return to the Tennessee Aquarium in the spring and be an ambassador for the species in our sturgeon touch tank in Discovery Hall. This unique partnership is a great outreach opportunity for TNACI and an incredible experience for the students. We look forward to working with them throughout the year!

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