The OFAH and the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program (LOASRP) received a three year, $307,300 Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) Grow Grant to expand and improve their popular classroom hatchery program over 2018-2021. The funding will allow for a full-time classroom hatchery coordinator to be hired who will develop curriculum-linked teaching materials, produce technical and educational videos supporting the program, and be a resource person for participating teachers. Additionally, the grant will fund ten new hatcheries annually in Durham Region, providing an additional 1500 students the opportunity to engage in hands-on science and contribute to an important restoration effort. Each classroom receives 100 Atlantic Salmon eggs in January and as they watch their fish hatch and grow over the next few months, students learn about the species and conservation efforts to restore it to Lake Ontario. At the end of the school year, the class embarks on a field trip to a Lake Ontario stream to release the fish. “Raising and releasing fish into a local stream empowers children with a sense of stewardship for our fisheries and the habitats that support them”, says Kathryn Peiman, OFAH Atlantic Salmon Program Coordinator, “and this OTF grant will give us a much-needed boost to improve the environmental education value of the program and tackle a very long waiting list of schools for it.” The OFAH is a lead partner with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on the LOASRP, which is supported by lead sponsor Ontario Power Generation and over 40 other partners. LOASRP also stocks millions of Atlantic Salmon, restores the habitat needed to support them and other fish, and provides cutting edge technology like the video fish counter installed in the Ganaraska River in 2016.
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