Nfld. & Labrador

Students bid farewell to fish friends

The project also helps the children learn about science and math.

14 schools help restock rivers in the St. John's area

The children had pet names for their fish fry. On Tuesday, they said goodbye to Bubbles, Bear and the others. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Elementary students across St. John's said goodbye to their fish friends at the Suncor Energy Fluvarium on Tuesday.

Fourteen schools across the region took part in this year's Atlantic Salmon Federation's Fish Friends Salmon Release program.

In February, the students were given around 100 salmon eggs to raise, courtesy of the program's sponsor, Newfoundland Power.

The children hatched the fry from eggs, learning about math and science as well as the environment. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Over the past four months, they got to care for the eggs, helping them grow into baby fish.

Their teachers incorporated the project into their math and science curricula along the way.

On Tuesday, the children gathered around the Rennie's River to let their named fry swim free, waving bye to Bubbles or Bear as they were tipped gently into the water.

A lifetime of learning

This is the Fluvarium's fifth year running the Fish Friends program.

Bob Piercey, senior environmental educator at the Fluvarium, said it "goes a long way to help teach children about the life of these beautiful fish." They learn, hands-on, the different stages salmon go through.

Fourteen schools in the St. John's area took part in the fish fry program. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Piercey's fellow Fluvarium educator, Denise Hennebury, also said the opportunity shows the children the good and the bad.

Although about 100 eggs were delivered to the schools, not all of the eggs flourished into fry — some weren't fertilized and others didn't thrive.

"Actually, they probably did a lot better than they would have in the wild," said Hennebury. Still, students were exposed to the full survival spectrum, and taught the importance of protecting life and the environment.

Newfoundland Power's public affairs manager, Michele Coughlan, said the company is happy to be a part of the environmental education program.

"When environmental stewardship begins at a young age, it lasts a lifetime."

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