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Little Friends of the River

VIDEO: Trout Release Day for PS 314


BxCM Program Manager Nicole Wallace and Trout in The Classroom Guide Lillit Genovesi release trout raised by pre-schoolers at PS 314.

VIDEO: Trout Release Day  - News 12 Westchester


News12 Westchester is on hand for Trout Release Day for South Bronx Head Start #1

What: A STEAM-based educational program

Who: Pre-K & Kindergarten classes

When: Monthly classroom visits from September-June

Where: early childhood centers and Kindergarten classes

Current Participants: La Peninsula Head Start

Current Funders: Con Edison, Tortuga Foundation, New York Yankees Foundation, Educational Foundation of America, HW Wilson Foundation, Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust, TD Charitable Foundation, Watershed Agricultural Council

Goals: Students will:

  • Understand the water cycle and its importance for both people and animals

  • Understand that some animals, including trout, develop through a life cycle

  • Understand that animals and people need basic things to survive (water, food, etc.)

  • Understand the connection between animals and their environment

  • Be able to talk about ways in which they can protect and preserve animals and their environment

  • Use the fine arts (drawing, painting, sculpture and collage) to share information about the environment with their classmates and families


Program Description: Little Friends of the River is a professional development and interactive STEAM-based Pre-K program developed by the Bronx Children’s Museum in collaboration with Trout In the Classroom (TIC), a national organization under the auspices of Trout Unlimited. Throughout the school year, classrooms foster trout eggs in aquarium tanks as they grow into alevin and then fingerlings, before releasing them back into the watershed. Little Friends of the River is designed to train teachers to inspire and teach children about science through the study of trout and water while connecting children and their families with nature. To date, the Museum has worked with eight sites and approximately 1000 children and 61 teachers. 


Little Friends of the River includes:

  • Support securing a tank and technical equipment

  • 50-100 trout eggs (supplied by Trout in the Classroom at their annual conference in October)

  • Technical assistance in maintaining the tank and the eggs (provided by Trout in the Classroom)

  • Professional development training for teachers

  • A Teacher Resource Packet (common-core aligned lesson plans and suggested activities), the Museum’s Fun Fact Cards, and literature about water, rivers, or trout

  • Monthly classroom visits from a Museum Guide, which include art activities, suitcase exhibits, guest speakers, and read-alouds

  • A field trip to Westchester County to release the fish into the river in April (bus trips must be scheduled by October 31st)



Little Friends of the River was conceptualized as a natural accompaniment to the Trout in the Classroom program, which serves over 3,500 children in New York City every year. Since current models of the program are best suited to older age groups, the Museum moved to fill this gap in programming by creating Little Friends of the River, which is designed specifically for Pre-K and Kindergarten children. As Executive Director Carla Precht noted, “Our instinct told us that because children love animals and babies and because they learn more in an interactive environment, this program would work for a younger audience, even though current models are focused on older grades.” The Museum even created a special Teacher Resource Packet, a seventy-page document that includes common core-aligned lesson plans, art activities, worksheets, monthly calendars, a suggested reading list, and a detailed section on tank set-up, maintenance, and troubleshooting. The packet was created by Museum Guides in collaboration with Trout in the Classroom, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Bronx educators.


For more information on the Little Friends of the River program, please contact Education Director Nicole Wallace.



“Teachers are often daunted by the idea of installing and maintaining a 55-gallon fish tank in a Pre-K classroom. The Bronx Children’s Museum has done a great job alleviating their fears by offering classroom visits and educational materials such as their Teacher Resource Packet. This level of support gives teachers and students the confidence to care for their fish throughout the year, ensuring a successful outcome for people and fish alike!”

-Lillit Genovesi, NYC Trout in the Classroom Coordinator


“Children love having the fish in their classroom. Not only does it inspire a sense of responsibility and stewardship as they care for the trout, but they get to witness firsthand the life cycle of an animal, something they normally only get to read about in books. The children grow with the trout as they are engaged intellectually, emotionally, and physically.” 

-Estela Campbell, Director of South Bronx Headstart

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