PHILADELPHIA, N.Y. (WWTI) — Two hundred trout now have a new home.

A biology class at Indian River High School has spent the majority of the school year raising Brook trout in their classroom. Taught by Biology Teacher Andrea Insera, the students had to research an ideal location in the North Country to release the trout.

“We did a lot of bug things, we collected water samples to observe in a microscope,” Student Leann Bates explained.

Students ultimately chose a nearby creek at the bottom of a 15-foot waterfall in Philadelphia, New York, which they said was the perfect location as it’s surrounded by dense forest.

“All these trees create the perfect shade in the water,” Bates added. “It makes it cold for the trout to survive in.”

The class released their Brook trout into the creek on May 23. But the lessons didn’t stop at the water’s surface.

Insera then had students identify different species of trees that surrounded the creek to explain the importance of biodiversity.

“This spot has a high biodiversity of trees,” Insera explained. “I was teaching the kids about the fact that if there are invasive species that come to this area, they might take out some of the trees. But if there’s wide biodiversity, then they can’t take out all the trees/

Dale Watkins owns the land, waterfall and creek where this research project was conducted. He has volunteered his land for educational purposes for decades. He said the outdoor experiences help youth appreciate nature.

“A lot of things can be taught using the outdoor landscape,” Watkins expressed. “They get the texture, they get the vision, the different coloration. So there’s quite a study that goes into an outdoor education system.”

And although many of the students in Insera’s biology class are from military families, they will likely remember this creek in the North Country for many years to come.

“It helps them to see how important it is to know about their local ecology and what they can do to try and protect it,” she said. “Advocate for doing what’s right for the environment, planting more trees. watching out for invasive species, things like that.”

Watch previous coverage of the Indian River High School Brook trout project here.