KIDS: New Canaan Ciuntry School Salmon

{Spotlight Page Header} In the Spotlight
New Canaan Country School Salmon in Schools Project

{School Logo}

New Canaan Country School 4th Graders Restock River with Salmon

New Canaan Country School fourth grade students traveled to the Salmon River State Forest in East Hampton, CT where they carefully released baby salmon— or fry—into the river’s tributary, May 8.  The salmon release was the final step in a scientific study of salmon, ecology and environmental issues. 

{Children at Stream}

Hilary Miller, Keeley Strine, Celia Baliotti all of New Canaan, and Louisa Gosk of Darien

In February, Lower School Science Teacher Chantal Detlefs received 200 salmon eggs from the Connecticut River Salmon Association.  Through its “Salmon-in-Schools” program, the organization has been working to re-establish the endangered species in the state's major river. Every day since then, the children have taken turns measuring the water temperature in their classroom’s chilled aquarium tanks; salmon need cold water, about 2 degrees Celsius. 

  {Child at Stream}
Benjamin Ryan of Pound Ridge and Andrew Burr of New Canaan

They have also charted the daily growth of the eggs as they became alevin and then fry.  Through a combination of classroom discussion and hands-on activities, students have learned about the salmon’s upstream anadromous (fresh and salt water) migration pattern to the river and back to the North Atlantic, observed salmon scales under the microscope, and have studied the effect of dams on salmon population. 

{Boy at Stream}
Ellis Frey of New Canaan

“The goal was to show them an example of a local endangered species,” says Ms. Detlefs who also teaches students about the reintroduction of wolves at Yellowstone. “They are able to observe closely, engage in real-time research and learn about environmental issues.”

{Students at Stream}
Itzel Llamas of Norwalk and Julia Coniglio of New Canaan

The fish are finally ready for stocking by late-April or early-May. Once the Country School students’ data showed that the fry were ready, they boarded buses for the one and a half hour ride to East Hampton. In addition to releasing the salmon, students searched for small invertebrates (salmon food) in the river. They learned about the health of the rivers, played a “predator-prey” game, participated in a scavenger hunt and created a reflective writing piece.
“Not a lot of people get to release an endangered species into nature,” said fourth grader Graham Gale of Norwalk. “I felt like I was helping the world.”

{Association Logo}

The project was done with the assistance of the Connecticut River Salmon Association which provided 200 salmon eggs.

{Salmon in Schools}

New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students in pre-K (ages 3 & 4) through Grade 9. Located on a 75-acre campus in New Canaan, the school provides transportation to families living throughout Westchester and Fairfield counties. For more information, please visit

Content Last Modified on 5/21/2018 9:23:44 AM