AZTEC, N.M. (KRQE) – On Tuesday, elementary students got to see just how well they did on a recent project by releasing more than a dozen rainbow trout into the wild. They were given the opportunity to raise the fish from eggs.

Fifth-grade students from Aztec’s Park Avenue Elementary School have been raising rainbow trout since mid-February. It’s all part of Aztec Municipal School District’s Career and Technical Education program.

“Trout in the Classroom” is an environmental education program where students learn about biology and wildlife science. Students from Jessica Martinez’s class have been raising trout from when they were eggs to releasing them into the wild.

“Every day, it was just eyes glued to the tank. Did they grow? Are they hatched yet? It was definitely a process,” said Martinez.

This is the first time the school district has done this type of project. Martinez expressed that her students were excited about the project.

“It was really fun to see their little eyes come out, then the tail, the little egg sack. I mean, every day, the kids got to clean the filters. We had a feeding schedule. I mean, all hands were always in the water wanting to participate,” said Martinez.

This project was made possible by different organizations. Trout Unlimited provided the trout eggs, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish helped the children release the fish at the San Juan River. Releasing the rainbow trout was something these students were looking forward to.

Martinez said they plan on doing this project again next year with the hope of releasing more rainbow trout.