They raised them.
They named them.
Then they let them go into an unknown world full of hope and danger.
“We’ll just wish for the best,” said Belle Basa, a third grade teacher at Glen View Elementary School in Escondido.
For the last eight weeks, her students nurtured rainbow trout eggs into young fish.
“The fish mostly cooperated,” said Basa, who has never helped a classroom nurture a fish tank full of trout.
“A lot of kids just want to come in and look at them and check on them,” she said.
Her classroom participated in the fifth year of the Escondido Creek Conservancy’s “Trout in the Classroom” program.
“They learn about water quality. They learn about ecosystems,” said Conservancy Education Director Simon Breen.
“We all need clean water,” said Breen. “We all need clean air and we’re never going to get there if the next generation doesn’t understand the steps that they can take.”
“They’re going to be free in the lake, not just a small room,” said Glen View Third Grader Jaqui Gonzalez.
Wednesday, Gonzalez and her classmates scooped the trout out of their classroom fish tank and escorted them to Lake Miramar.
“This is just so nice,” exclaimed Breen. “It’s a breath of fresh air to see the kids just have complete joy.”
The students took turns scooping the young fish, about two inches long, into cups and gently pouring them into the lake.
“That excitement that they have is infectious,” said Breen.
The program is made possible through a partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The students with the Escondido Union School District received the eggs in January. The students cared for them as they hatched and grew for eight weeks.
Mrs. Basa said she enjoyed her first tank of rainbow trout in her classroom and she looks forward to participating next year.
“Oh, absolutely. Hundred percent.”