Native Fish in the Classroom

Native Fish in the Classroom

Program Info | Teacher’s Guide & Lesson Plans | Schools | Photos

What is Native Fish in the Classroom?



To assist students in developing an attitude of stewardship toward Louisiana’s natural resources and to provide for them a constructive active learning situation in which students can explore strategies for sustaining our aquatic ecosystems.


  • Provide students in grades 6th through 12th with background information on fisheries management, fish biology, protected species, and aquatic natural resources.
  • Maintain a classroom-based nursery aquarium in which students grow native, Louisiana fish, paddlefish, from eggs to fingerlings.
  • Produce paddlefish that can be used by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery to help manage a protected fish population in Louisiana.
  • Assist students in developing an attitude of stewardship toward the state’s natural resources. Students will gain awareness of freshwater ecological systems by helping prevent the loss of a protected fish, benefiting the whole freshwater system.

Why Paddlefish?

  • Paddlefish spawning cycles coincide with the spring semester of school year
  • Paddlefish eggs are large enough to view with the naked eye
  • They have distinctive life-stages and develop into fingerlings in about a month and one half
  • They are a protected species in Louisiana
  • They are a living fossil

How do paddlefish get to the classroom?

  • Qualified candidates, 6th through 12th grade science teachers living in Louisiana.
  • Candidates will write a letter of intent, attend all workshops, pick up eggs, and return fingerlings to the hatchery.
  • The candidate’s school will show support of the teacher and the project

Participation in NFC Includes:

  • Workshop For Intensive Training: biology, fisheries management, aquaculture maintenance, importance of native species, and stewardship
  • NFC Teachers Guide Book: background, lessons, aquaria setup and maintenance
  • Equipment: aquaria setup and supplies
  • Support: list of who to contact for help and trouble-shooting


  • Early March to Late May
  • Teacher will get eggs (possibility of Fieldtrips to see propagation)
  • Rearing of the fish to Fingerling size
  • Teacher and students return fingerlings to LDWF pre-selected, pre-approved riverine habitat

For More Information, contact:

Chris Conner at (318) 487-5336 or [email protected]