These fish really are in schools

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Speckled-face fish seem to eye the Breadsprings Day School third grade class Tuesday in Breadsprings, New Mexico.

WINDOW ROCK

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Breadsprings Day School kindergartener Jyrelle James watches speckled-face fish Monday in Breadsprings, New Mexico.

Native fish from the Navajo Nation are making a comeback in Diné schools as part of a learning program.

The Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife was given a grant from the Bureau of Indian Affairs allowing it to purchase aquarium tanks for schools around the Navajo Nation that are interested in the department’s fish program, allowing locals schools to use the fish as a part of a lesson plan aimed towards science.

“We recruit schools as part of the program ‘Native Fish in the Classroom,’” said Glen Selby, fish biologist for Navajo Fish and Wildlife.

The fish, bluehead sucker fish and speckled dace, are taken from Crystal Creek, New Mexico, north of Navajo, New Mexico and are distributed equally among recruited schools, according to Navajo Fish and Wildlife. The fish are found in Wheatfields and Whiskey lakes in the Chuska Mountains.

The bluehead sucker will likely be added to the Navajo Endangered Species List in the near future, according to Selby.

The program is aimed at teaching kids how to care and nurture the fish as well as learning about the creatures’ ecosystem and diet.

“We delivered the fish and the kids get excited, they ask questions,” said Selby.


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