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Yellow fish swimming down our streets

Hutton Elementary School teacher Amy Perry, lower left, helps her students, Teara Kinakin and Camryn Koochin, right, lift the stencil from the road during the Yellow Fish Road Project on Wednesday, June 20. Photo Erin Perkins.

More than 140 storm drains are just that much more important to Grand Forks now they have a symbolic yellow fish painted alongside them.

The yellow fish and the words “Rainwater Only” were painted by Grade 4 and 5 Hutton Elementary School students along with the help of their teacher, Amy Perry, on Wednesday, June 20.  The students spent the day stenciling the fish on to more than 30 urban roads as part of environmental work they’ve been studying in school.

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.

The fish symbol is to remind people that what goes down the drain goes into our watersheds.

“I like that we’re helping the rivers and lakes because when you put stuff down the drains it goes into our lakes,” said Camryn Koochin, Grade 5.

“I like that we’re saving the rivers and waterways from pollution,” said Teara Kinakin, Grade 4.

“I like that we can help (the environment),” said Jack Thomas, Grade 5.

“We had wonderful feedback from community members,” stated Perry in a report she prepared about the day. “People stopped to ask questions and learn about the project.  Once people learned about what the students were up to they were thanked for their hard work …They all felt a sense of purpose and that they were making a difference for our rivers, our animals and our precious drinking water.”

After spending the day painting, the students gathered at City Park in Grand Forks to enjoy some cake and to provide Yellow Fish education to the public through some displays they’d created.

On hand to help in the celebrations was Grand Forks mayor Brian Taylor, councillor Gary Smith and School District 51 superintendent Michael Strukoff in addition to other teachers and administrators from Hutton Elementary.

“I think this is a wonderful initiative by the young people of the community and showing this environmental sensitivity and responsible behaviour I hope will impact (the rest of the community) on how sensitive this issue is,” said Grand Forks mayor Brian Taylor.

This project was made possible through donations by Overwaitea Foods, Home Hardware and Your Dollar Store with More. There were also numerous community volunteers helping out including Angie Burch, Georgette Remo, Alan LeRoy, Chantel Lovegrove, Amy Semenoff, Angela Soukoreff, Kathy Enns, Becky Deane, Nancy Perry and Pete Perry.