Environmental Science Students Visit Petaluma Hatchery
Environmental Science Students Visit Petaluma Hatchery

On February 21, Mr. Kearns' Environmental Science classes took a field trip north to Casa Grande High School's onsite hatchery in Petaluma. Thirty-five years ago, the students of Casa Grande started advocating for the health of their local waterway, Adobe Creek. The Adobe Creek had been polluted and diverted by the city of Petaluma and it took dedicated activism from the students to start a vital creek restoration project. One important part of that restoration was the development of an onsite hatchery to increase the steelhead trout population in the creek. Today, the creek is thriving and so is the trout population, but the hatchery continues to serve as an educational tool for young people interested in conservation and environmental science. Students help to spawn the adult fish at nearby Warm Springs Hatchery and bring home fertilized eggs that they care for as they hatch and grow from alevin to fry to fingerlings. The fingerlings are brought back to Warm Springs and then released into the local river.

Serra students were able to learn about all aspects of the Casa Grande Hatchery from the local students who led them on tours, showed them the egg incubators, water troughs, and watering systems. Recently hatched alevin were on display in their water baths swimming valiantly with thousands of their brethren. After the hatchery tour, Serra students took a trip to Adobe Creek and took measurements of flow, depth, clarity, and temperature. They waded into the creek looking for signs of micro-vertebrates and other aquatic life.

"I really enjoyed this field trip," commented Peter Nuessmann '19. "The student activism and involvement in bringing back the health of the creek was impressive and inspiring. And, seeing in person what we've been learning about in class was exciting. Mr. Kearns' class is always lively and full of examples from his professional experience, but coming out into the field reinforces the points in an even stronger way." Nuessmann is off to the University of Colorado next year and plans to major in mechanical engineering.