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Somers Students Stock Local Stream With Trout

SOMERS, N.Y. – A school of trout hatched and raised by a ninth-grade earth science class at Somers High School has just been released into the waters of Westchester.

Last October, the class received 20 soon-to-hatch fish eggs from the Department of Environmental Protection, along with a tank, filters and fish food. 

“It was cool to watch them grow,” said Matthew Pontbriand. “We named one fish Nemo and another one Flipper, because he was swimming upside down.”

The project started with a test of Somers drinking water. It measured 7 on the pH scale, indicating absolute neutrality, an ideal environment. The eggs hatched soon after they were placed in the water, and the fish began to grow at the rate of about one inch every two months.

“I like the exercise because it teaches the kids environmental awareness," teacher Brian Hugick said. "They learned that the environment around Somers is precious. It’s clean and unpolluted. They also learned about the nitrogen cycle and the significance of p-waves and s-waves.”

The young fish were nurtured in the tank for about six months so they would be strong enough when released. “Nature is amazing,” Hugick said. “Fish hatch when their predators are hibernating. There’s snow on the ground. By the time the snow melts, they’re big enough to survive.”

On Thursday, three class representatives, Taylor May, Matthew Pontbriand and Arianna Tomeo traveled with their teacher, some parents and the school of young fish to the Amawalk Reservoir Outlet. 

The students pulled on waders and carefully tested the temperature of the water. It was close the the tank water temperature, an ideal 52 to 55 degrees. The buckets of fingerlings — three to four inches long — were dumped into the cold, clear water. After a moment of reorientation, Nemo, Flipper and the gang swam happily away.

Said Matthew Pontbriand, “This is the best day of my week.”

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