Teachers have unique fishing experience, courtesy of a trip to Thomas More’s Biology Field Station

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By Bobby Ellis
Special to KyForward

If you’ve ever wanted to give your students the chance to catch wild fish out of the Ohio River using currents of electricity, the Thomas More Biology Field Station in California, Ky., has just the thing for you.

As part of a workshop organized by Tabitha Owens, who was the Kentucky Department of Education’s environmental education specialist at the time of the event, teachers from across the Commonwealth traveled to the station to take a tour and experience what could be offered on a student field trip.

Dr. Christopher Lorentz, the direcoter of the Biology Field Station, shows visiting teachers the field station’s fish hatchery tubs. (Photo by Bobby Ellis)

“What we’re going to do today is the same thing we would be doing with students if your school was to come here on a field trip,” said Christopher Lorentz, director of the field station. “As part of the day, there’s going to be a tour of the labs here at the station, we’ll see the outside classroom area and we’ll take you out on boats to show you how we test water quality and capture different fish species.”

While viewing the different labs at the field station, the workshop attendees were able to speak with college interns working at the station about their different studies, view the station’s small fish hatchery and hold an endangered species of muscle.

“The internship program here is unlike anything I’ve seen for students at this level,” said Owens. “It’s master’s level stuff available to undergrads, so I think that’s really cool, giving the students who would come here on a field trips the chance to talk to younger people who are doing some really cool things in their field of study.”

After touring the labs, the teachers were taken out on two different boats to test water quality and to capture different fish species using an electrofishing boat and nets.

“I get to hold a muscle and capture fish, it’s a busy day,” said Susan Crane, a teacher at Gallatin High School (Gallatin County).

If you’re interested in visiting the Thomas More Biology Field Station with your students, you can get more information from their website.

Teachers use nets to collect fish as they electrofish during a visit to the Thomas Moore College Biology Field Station.

David Whittington, a chemistry and environmental science teacher at Dayton High School (Dayton Independent) holds an aligator gar caught using an electrofishing boat.

Bobby Ellis writes for Kentucky Teacher, a publication of the state Department of Education. Reach him at bobby.ellis@education.ky.gov

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