Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery offers tours to groups all year long, however April and May are the busiest months for school groups to visit the hatchery. During these two months, over 1,500 students from various schools have visited the hatchery. Groups ranged from preschool age to seniors in high school. Most groups were from Kentucky, but some traveled from Tennessee. Eager to return to annual trips at the hatchery after a pause during the pandemic, teachers called and scheduled tours of the hatchery, along with an “Animal Talk” which included information and close up looks at our educational animals, and environmental education lessons.
Younger students enjoyed learning about different animal groups, with Ranger (our resident skunk) as an example of a mammal, and Quadro and/or Benny (our snakes) as examples of reptiles. Often, birds of Kentucky were discussed, along with amphibians that are native to our area. Hands-on lessons with earthworms that included poems and songs about their benefits were used to engage students and foster curiosity about all animals.
Older students learned about macroinvertebrates and stream quality. Stream studies of Hatchery Creek were completed, as students collected, identified and sorted macroinvertebrates to indicate water quality. The students were fully engaged in the stream study from collecting the samples to eventually determining the stream quality, leading to discussions about what factors cause streams and water sources to become polluted.
At Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, we take pride in providing environmental education and tours to students. Educating today’s youth about environmental issues is crucial to helping our kids become curious and passionate about nature,, environmental issues, and protecting our planet. By encouraging this passion at an early age, we have a better chance at raising a generation of lifelong environmental advocates that will continue to live sustainable lives into their adulthood.