Manhattan Elementary School Students Release Juvenile Trout Into New York City Watershed Streams

May 25, 2022

Thousands of students from New York City and the upstate watersheds will participate in the environmental education program;

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on May 17 joined Trout Unlimited, the Watershed Agricultural Council, and 24 science students from PS 36M, The Margaret Douglas School in Morningside Heights, Manhattan, to release juvenile trout that the students have raised in their classrooms since October of last year. More than 100 fingerlings were released into the Cross River where it passes through the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester County. The Cross River feeds into New York City’s Cross River Reservoir.

Photos of the event are available on DEP’s Flickr page.

Since 2002, DEP and Trout Unlimited, a national grassroots non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve, protect, and restore North America’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds, have worked together to educate students from New York City and watershed communities about the importance of protecting our shared water resources through the Trout in the Classroom program. The conservation-oriented environmental education program teaches young New Yorkers, ranging from pre-K to grade 12, about the connections between trout, the New York City water supply system, water quality, and students from both ends of the City’s water tunnels. Many of the schools participating in the Trout in the Classroom program also receive support from watershed partner organizations, including the Watershed Agricultural Council, which provides watershed forestry bus tour grants to schools visiting the New York City Watershed.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program adopted a hybrid approach. Schools that were able to opt into raising trout in their classroom were provided eggs while virtual programs, resources, and a live feed of a trout tank at the Trailside Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, located in NYC’s East of Hudson Watershed, were offered to all other participating schools. The virtual check-ins were titled Trout Tuesdays and Think Tank Thursdays. The blended programming was very successful, with participating schools receiving eggs from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Cold Spring Harbor Hatchery. And, with the virtual learning component, students watched educational videos/blogs, followed the virtual tank, and participated in virtual field trips. Additionally, staff and teachers that were able to release their trout documented the experience through videos, photographs, and collages to share with students who were unable to attend in-person field trips.

This year, thousands of students from schools in New York City and the upstate watersheds incubated trout eggs in their classrooms and raised them into juvenile trout, which are also called fingerlings. To mark the return of the hands-on learning experience, the 8-month long program will culminate with students taking part in designated field days, where they will release the fingerlings into New York City watershed streams from March through June.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.