While many families are using this Memorial Day for backyard barbeques, parents and third grade students in Tony Yob’s Oak Knoll School classroom are experiencing a more up close and personal encounter with the great outdoors. They’re heading to the San Lorenzo River in Henry Cowell Redwood State Park to release a couple of dozen steelhead trout, known as “fry” at this stage in their life.
The fish arrived as fertilized eggs via the California Department of Fish and Wildlife three weeks ago. As students observed, they went from an eyed egg to alevins to swimming fry. Along the way, they were cheered on by Team Yob. (A number of team members are pictured wearing t-shirts bearing that name.)
Tony and his students are participating in a STEP (Salmon & Trout Education) program, which is supported by the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project in 0ver 155 California classrooms. The purpose of the program is to develop awareness of the life cycle and habitat requirements of local salmon and steelhead. Tony received funding for the program from the Flycaster’s Education Foundation, covering the cost of teacher training, a lesson plan, and aquarium chillers.
“Last year we released 26 fry,” said Tony. “It’ s a great way to end the year. Instead of counting the days to school is out, the kids come in and count the fish.”
Footnote: Tony grew up in Menlo Park, attending Oak Knoll, Hillview and M-A; the classroom where he teaches today was his fourth grade classroom.