The Fire Chief Project: Connecting trout and clean water

A pretreatment coordinator helps deliver a vital message about the importance of wastewater treatment

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Eric Swope’s job as industrial pretreatment coordinator at the Keene (New Hampshire) Wastewater Treatment plant involves keeping harmful substances out of the wastewater stream. He also considers it part of his job to teach school children about the value of clean water.

Swope helps coordinate a Trout in the Classroom program in Keene. This year, for the first time, preschool kids took part, according to an article in the Keene Sentinel newspaper. Children in Keene Montessori School this past year raised the trout from eggs in their classroom. Recently, they released the trout into Beaver Brook.

“The children lined up to dump their cup of water containing a trout, which they did one by one,” the newspaper reported. “The school has had the eggs since February, according to the head of the school, Janet Shook. Since then, the school’s 50 children, ranging from 18 months old to six years, have watched the trout grow.”

The kids started with about 100 eggs, provided by New Hampshire Fish & Game. About 40 hatched. The kids tracked and charted the fishes’ growth and checked the pH of the water the trout lived in. The Monadnock Chapter of Trout Unlimited helps supply the equipment needed to for the Trout in the Classroom program.

Assistant teacher Jaclyn Borrelli launched the program at the school and contacted Swope to get it going, according to the newspaper. Swope’s job description includes education, working with students on the importance of water quality. He has helped with the trout program for a number of years. It’s another way to further the aims of The Fire Chief Project:

* Raise clean-water operators to the status of the fire chief.
* Make kids grow up wanting to be clean-water operators.


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