Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America

Shad in the Schools in North Carolina

American Shad

American Shad

Welcome to the on-line American shad activities for North Carolina. Thank you for taking the time to explore this site. These activities were developed by numerous partners to enhance the North Carolina Standards of Learning in several areas of curriculum and to help connect children with nature.

If you are teacher looking to dive into the Shad in the Schools Project you are starting on a wonderful adventure that you and your students should enjoy. If you are a student participating in this project, you are embarking on an adventure that will allow you to participate in activities just like a real fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Whether you release one American shad fry or 1,000 your students will have hands-on activities that will help them learn about food webs, river basins, mapping activities, water quality, and river flow rates. There are several extension activities where students can expand their learning and earn a certificate, or find their ecological footprint.

The American shad is a migratory fish that used to be prevalent in all river systems in North Carolina. The fish spawns in freshwaters and lives most of its life in the ocean. As you will learn, it is a very important part of the food chain in North Carolina. And, American shad played a significant role in the survival of the indigenous people, and the first settlers to the New World.

In the 2008/2009 school year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service piloted this program to two schools in Raleigh, North Carolina: Centennial Campus Middle School and Leadmine Elementary School. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center worked with Lafayette Elementary School. The students raised more than 3,000 American shad from egg to fry stage and released them into the Neuse and Cape Fear River basins. Along the way students participated in water quality testing, fly fishing demonstrations, shad bush plantings, and listened to presentations by scientists and authors.

Please take a moment to look at these activities to see how you can fit them into your classroom. You don't even have to grow shad to take part in some of these wonderful activities. For more information see the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences or contact Melissa Dowland at NC DENR

Last Updated: November 1, 2012