An Adventure in Conservation Science
Through the Shad in the Classroom Project, both teachers and students embark on a wonderful adventure in conservation science! Participating classrooms construct a tank, monitor water quality, and raise and release tiny fry (juvenile fish) in partnership with real fisheries biologists from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and 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 web 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.
Applications for the Shad in the Classroom are available in the fall. Please contact Melissa Dowland (firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.707.9898) if you are interested in applying to be a part of this program.
The Museum was recognized with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director’s Conservation Award for its role in the program. Award Press Release
Raising American Shad in your classroom
- What Is It - A description of the program including provided materials and required commitment
- Checklist - A checklist to step you through the entire Shad in the Classroom project
- Step by Step Setup Instructions - information on how to set up your tank and prepare for the arrival of your shad
- Shad Tank Assembly Manual - pictorial guide showing how to construct your shad tank (PDF)
- Daily Responsibilities - what to do each day to maintain water quality for your shad eggs and fry
- Water Quality Targets and Daily Log - chart for recording water quality data
- Tank Troubleshooting Guide - what to do if you have problems with your tank
- How to Add Shad Eggs to Your Tank - information on acclimating shad eggs to the tank and on sorting live from dead eggs
- Sorting the Eggs - instructions on removing dead/decaying eggs from your tank
- Releasing the Fry - information on proper procedure for transporting your fry to the river and releasing them
- Tank Parts List - inventory of all the pieces and parts you'll need to raise shad
- Storing the Tank - instructions on the proper storage of your shad tank
- Shad Tank Label - printable sheet to use in labeling your shad tank
Right-click (control-click on Mac) to download movie files. Please note: some files are large and downloading may take a few minutes. Shad in the Classroom videos are also available on iTunesU.
Shad in the Classroom Overview
This video provides an overview of the program.
Build the Tank
This video provides information on how to construct a shad hatchery tank.
Add the Eggs
This video describes the process of adding shad eggs to your tank.
It is Time!
This video demonstrates proper techniques for releasing the fry.
American Shad Life Cycle
This video provides an overview of the life cycle of American Shad.
American Shad History
This video discusses the natural and cultural history of American Shad in North Carolina.
This video addresses the effect dams have on American Shad migration.
American Shad Restoration
This video provides information on the restoration of American Shad through stocking efforts.
Josh Raabe - Migratory Fish Research
This video describes NC State University graduate student Josh Raabe's research project on migratory fish including American Shad.
These activities were developed by numerous partners to enhance the North Carolina Standard Course of Study in several areas of curriculum and to help connect children with nature.
- Food Web Activity - Science 1.10, 3.02, 3.03, 3.04, 3.08, Language Arts 2.01, 3.02, 4.01
- GIS Watershed Activity - Neuse Watershed or Albemarle Watershed
- Wishes of Fishes Activity - Science 1.10, 3.08, Language Arts 2.01, 3.02, 4.01
- Nonfiction Reading Activity
- Hands-On Activities for Shad Students (external link)
- Resources Section
Supporters and Partners:
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program
- National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
- N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission