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Students explore waters

Lara Mullin, Sierra Sun

Seventh graders from Sierra Mountain Middle School were granted a reprieve last Thursday, escaping the classroom for a day of education, nature and sunshine.

SMMS Science teacher Sue Mock and two classes of enthusiastic students joined forces with Sarah Green of the Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP) for a fish release in the creek at Donner Memorial State Park.

SWEP has been working with the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District for the last seven years to provide hands-on projects for kids like the fish release that offer real solutions to local environmental issues.

Thanks to donations and assistance by the Tahoe-Truckee Flyfishers, Mock has been raising fish in her classroom for several years, and last week students were able to give them back to the community and even get a little wet.

“I wish I could jump in there and swim free like the fishes,” said seventh grader Jackson Callaghan.

Following the release, students attended various lectures along the nature trail on insects, birds and water quality. Parents and volunteers from local agencies were on hand to assist in these instructional groups as the students frantically took notes of their surroundings in their journals.

Most of the kids agreed that being outside and playing in the water was more exciting than regular classroom work, but they also felt good about increasing the local fish population.

“It is a good educational experience and good for the environment,” another student added.

SWEP works with area schools on a variety of local environmental issues, making it possible for teachers to take learning one step beyond textbooks and in-class lab work.

Yesterday, students from Rideout Elementary School and Tahoe Lake School planted willows as part of an anti-erosion campaign, and this Saturday, June 2, the 5th Annual Watershed Fair will be held at Commons Beach in Tahoe City.

The fair is a community event that showcases school and community environmental programs in the Tahoe-Truckee area. Among the fair’s attractions will be games and activities such as face-painting, fish prints and a wildlife bean bag toss. Visitors will also have the opportunity to take a tour and ride on the Tahoe Research Group’s research vessel.

The fair will begin at 11 a.m. and last until 3 p.m. Food and drinks will also be available and free lemonade will be given to anyone who gets to the Fair on a bicycle or by bus.

For more information on the Watershed Fair and to sign up for a Tahoe Research Group boat tour please contact Sarah Green at (530) 550-0819.


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