MARYSVILLE, Calif. Oct. 17, 2018 For nearly 25 years, Greg and Kathleen Payne have been teaching Yuba County elementary school students about the life cycle of fish and the importance of a healthy watershed. That program received a boost yesterday, with a grant from Yuba Water Agency to fund new equipment for this unique program.

As a part of the California Aquatics Education Program, often referred to as Fish in the Classroom, students set up aquariums in their classrooms and observe the early days of salmon or steelhead eggs. They maintain the water temperature to mimic river conditions and observe the different life stages before releasing them into the river to continue the journey on their own.

“This program allows the students to become bonded with nature and it helps them understand the importance of fish, the watershed, and how their everyday lives can impact the health of the river,” said Kathleen Payne, program organizer.

This $2,500 grant will allow the program organizers to purchase new fish chilling units necessary for keeping the classroom aquariums at the appropriate temperature for fish to grow, as well as transportation to and from the river to release the fish.

“This is one of my favorite programs to sponsor, said Yuba Water Agency General Manager Curt Aikens. “It’s so impressive when you hear the students recite all of the life cycles of the fish, and to know that they are developing an appreciation for the river and the fish at such a young age is great.”

Yuba Water Agency has supported the Fish in the Classroom program for more than 20 years by helping fund the maintenance and costs of the aquarium chillers and transportation.

Learn more about the program and watch a video featuring students and employees from Lone Tree Elementary and Linda Elementary schools: