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Nature Bowl winners have wildlife experience

By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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The top winners of the 27th annual Nature Bowl competition received a learning experience last week. Approximately 30 students assisted the Department of Fish and Game staff with the release of trout into the wild. The fish were raised at American River Hatchery in Rancho Cordova. Students ranging from third- through sixth-grade came from surrounding schools including Lake Forest Elementary in El Dorado Hills, Deterding Elementary in Carmichael, Korematsu Elementary in Davis and Latrobe Elementary in Shingle Springs. This experience was provided to winners because these students have worked hard learning environmental science and natural resource conservation topics, and won their divisions in the Nature Bowl, said Dana Michaels, Department of Fish and Game information officer. Participants met at the Rancho Cordova hatchery, where the Department of Fish and Game staff loaded trout into a truck for transport. Students and staff then caravanned to Jenkinson Lake near Pollock Pines, where students helped plant the hatchery-raised trout in the waterway. The plantings are done for recreational fishing, said Bruce Forman, naturalist with the Department of Fish and Game. “This morning was an experience, it was a time for the top scoring teams to help the department with a trout planning trip at Jenkinson Lake,” Forman said. Forman said they released 1,700 rainbow trout into the lake and this plant was one of 10 of this year at Jenkinson Lake. It is part of the overall half a million that are planted in the 17 county regions in northern California and the Sacramento Valley. “The experience raised the student awareness of the department’s role in recreational fishing and conservation,” Forman said. “By seeing the fish up-close and releasing them back into their home, it instilled a greater appreciation of fish for these students.” Nature bowl is a partnership of the Department of Fish and Game and the American River Conservancy and supported by a grant of The Wildlife Society. “I think the kids enjoy the fun and don’t even realize the education of it,” Michaels said. “The experience gives students a chance to see how environmental science is put to good use, and may even inspire some to pursue careers in that field.”