About Steelhead in the Classroom

In partnership with California Fish and Wildlife, we provide local elementary school classrooms with aquariums, lesson plan material, and steelhead eggs. Children are able to watch as steelhead eggs hatch and grow into juvenile fish. They learn basic scientific principles, what is required for fish to thrive, and why watersheds are important.

2019 Season was a Huge Success!


We have huge interest and participation this year.

RETU sponsored 3 classrooms in 2017 and 30 classrooms over 17 schools in 2018 within Sonoma County. In 2019 we saw a huge surge of interest - we sponsored 60 classrooms! RETU also formed a collaboration with United Anglers of Casa Grande in 2018 to support the Petaluma schools in this program. Everyone is doing a fantastic job and kids LOVED seeing the eggs hatch and the fish thrive while learning about conservation at the same time.

Become a Mentor for "Steelhead in the Classroom" sign up here

School is back in session and Redwood Empire Trout Unlimited is busy planning for our Spring Steelhead in the Classroom program. You can help RETU bring watershed education to local schools by volunteering to be a coach and helping out with egg delivery, drop off and classroom activities.

Are you a teacher interested in raising steelhead in your classroom? Sign up here

Instructors and their students set up an aquarium in the classroom, receive fish eggs from Warm Springs Hatchery under a special CDFW permit, and observe the fish as they hatch and develop. The experience culminates in a field trip to a Russian River tributary where the fish are released. This is a hands-on, interdisciplinary project for grades K-12. Check out these videos below, including from our friends at Golden Gate Trout Unlimited.

RETU has been involved with CDFW’s Steelhead in the Classroom Program for nearly 30 years, help us grow this incredible program. Coaches are critical to the success of Steelhead in the Classroom, the more coaches we have, the more classrooms we are able to serve. One coach can often support multiple classrooms.


Being a coach is a rewarding experience and RETU is there to support you and your classrooms. The time commitment is generally limited to a training session in January, tank set up (if your classrooms need help), egg pickup, and fry release. Egg pickup is in February and fry are released 5-7 weeks later, for much of this time coaches are on call for any problems that may arise. 

As a coach you will: 

  • Assist at the teacher training workshop

  • Provide in-class support to teachers (setting up aquarium, maintaining eggs and fish, troubleshooting problems if they arise)

  • Pick up eggs from CDFW and deliver to your classroom(s)

  • Share your experiences and stories with students (you need not be a fisheries biologist!)

  • Assist class the with release of fry into a local stream

  • Assist teacher in completing and returning the 772 permit

  • Assist teacher in adhering to requirements of the 772 permit

  • Complete and return other required paperwork and forms provided by CDFW

RETU and CDFW are available to assist you every step of the way and training is provided.