HIGHLAND PARK – Students from North Shore School District 112 on April 14 began releasing young fish into a newly restored ravine stream at Rosewood Park Beach. The students have been raising the young Rainbow Trout in their classrooms since November.
Fish release events will take place through May 11. They are a culmination of “Trout in the Classroom,” a partnership between the Park District of Highland Park, District 112, North Shore School District 113, and the Gary Borger Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the local arm of the national conservation organization, which sponsored the purchase of food, tank and equipment for the fish. The fish eggs were supplied by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The fish release events will be by staff from Heller Nature Center and the district’s Natural Areas Program.
Highland Park High School has also been involved in the project. Environmental Science students are raising trout for release on April 26. The High School students visited Rosewood on March 22 to learn how to monitor water quality in the ravine stream where the fish will be released. Some also visited Red Oak school to help the younger students learn how to care for their fish.
In addition, more than 400 local 5th graders are taking part this spring in science-based field trips to learn about ravine ecology through a Ravine Education Program developed by the Park District in partnership with NSSD 112.
“Keeping our natural waters healthy is important,” said Rebecca Grill, natural areas manager for the Park District of Highland Park. “Rainbow Trout can return to their ‘natal’ stream after reaching maturity. Our hope is that these fish will come back in a few years to spawn in our ravines. If they do, it will be an indicator that the ravines are a healthy habitat for local wildlife.”
At Rosewood, the Park District has been working to secure the natural home of these and other freshwater fish through a major restoration project funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER). This work has included opening the mouth of the ravine to fish passage, restoring native cobble to the stream channel and building pools and riffles that help improve water quality and food and habitat availability.
For more information visit http://www.pdhp.org/ravines-project/.
Submitted by the Park District of Highland Park