Hutton students hitting storm drains with fish stencils

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
June 14th, 2012

Painted yellow fish will be appearing on the streets of Grand Forks next week during an environmental project being done by Amy Perry’s Grade 4 and 5 Hutton Elementary School class.

On Wednesday, June 20 her class will be painting bright yellow fish alongside the storm drains of Grand Forks streets as part of the national Yellow Fish Road Program.

The students want to remind people that what goes down the storm drain goes into our water sources untreated, said Perry, who was inspired to do the project after a school district professional development day that focussed on environmental issues.

“The Kettle River connects all the schools in our district,” said Perry. “And it is on the endangered list for rivers. I was inspired to teach the kids about the environmental issues facing the river and all the animals who live in it. I wanted to do something about it and inspire the kids to make a difference … I hope they feel empowered and they look for other opportunities in the future (to help the environment).”

So far her students have embraced the environmental work they’ve been doing which has included field trips to local ponds to investigate how invertebrates thrive or die in polluted water.

They love the environmental work and feel really connected to the environment,” said Perry. “A lot of them feel empathy and so their are really excited to make a positive change.

In Grand Forks the water that goes down the storm drain is untreated when it hits the Kettle and Granby Rivers. Grand Forks city workers told Perry they’ve seen people pouring latex paint directly into the storm drains along residential streets. Those chemicals will eventually make their way into local drinking water and even into our food sources.

“I hope the community learns from this (Yellow Fish Road Program) and realizes the water from the storm drains goes directly into the rivers untreated,” said Perry.

The Yellow Fish Road Program was created and is managed by the non-profit organization, Trout Unlimited Canada. The TUC works on numerous projects to enhance and restore stream habitat. Since 1991, thousands of communities across Canada have had the yellow fish stenciled alongside street storm drains to remind people that what goes down there will be introduced to the natural environment.

This project was made possible through donations by Overwaitea Foods, Home Hardware and Your Dollar Store with More.

Learn more about the yellow fish on June 20

The public is invited to come out and learn more about the Yellow Fish Road Program during a celebration that will be held the same day as the painting, Wednesday, June 20 at 2:30 p.m. in City Park, Grand Forks.

Mayor Brian Taylor will be on hand, there will be information about the project and what not to put down the storm drains and free cake.