One year ago the Palisade High School Fish Hatchery started with a teacher’s vision, a handful of students, three big tanks, and more than 200 fish, and students, Addie and Jack were there at the beginning. Jack Perrin says, “We’ve gone an entire year with our first batch of fish and it’s great to be a part of that. I’m very glad and my senior quote, just so everyone knows is “fish are friends, not food” and I live by that statement.”
The razorback sucker fish have been in the area for five million years, but almost went extinct the last 50, according to an official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but the bond shared between a teacher and his students lasts forever because two of them are his daughters. PHS science teacher, Patrick Steele, says, “Getting to share an experience like this with the people that you care about and you see everyday at home and at school, that kind of thing is beyond words.” “He’s worked so much and so hard on this project and it’s really nice to see it pay off, and I’ve learned a lot and it’s definitely brought our family so much closer,” said his oldest daughter Addie.
She’s graduating and leaving the program, but her little sister is continuing with the experience and the family tradition. Ella Steele says, “It’s really cool to work with him and experience his passion with him.”
230 endangered razorback fish are being released from a program that started six years ago, and the fish have really grown and so have the students. “I’ve really learned how to even start up a website. Actually, I’ve built the Palisade Fish Hatchery website from scratch,” said Perrin. Addie says, “I’ve learned so much about how important the fish are for our agriculture, our community, and Palisade as a whole.”
She says the fish are essential in helping crops grow because they help filtrate the water and the students are releasing them with a new tradition and that’s sending the fish off with a kiss.