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Atoka GEAR UP students tour the Durant State Fish Hatchery

5/1/2019

WILBURTON, Okla. (May 1, 2019) – Seventy-seven GEAR UP students from McCall Middle School in Atoka recently visited the Durant State Fish Hatchery located near Durant. The seventh and eighth grade students toured portions of the 350-acre facility while learning the role of the largest hatchery in the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

Students began the day exploring the catfish barn. Rebecca Fillmore, along with other hatchery technicians, described the process for researching and growing the millions of bass that are used to stock Oklahoma’s lakes. Fillmore showed students the different sampling nets used to catch fish and explained how each net was designed to catch specific species. After discussing other wildlife that can be found at the hatchery, students examined the small tanks used to raise koi, sunfish, and catfish. With the technicians’ guidance, students learned how to appropriately handle fish.

The tour continued with a visit to several of the reservoirs where Fillmore addressed the care and management involved in raising fish: proper aeration, water temperature, protection from predators, and feeding habits. After feeding the bass, the technicians explained how these same techniques could be utilized in common farm ponds and even aquariums. Fillmore encouraged the students to pursue careers in wildlife management and to fish.

“This trip was a great learning experience for our students,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Denise Lovell. “Exploring learning beyond the classroom is always beneficial to our students and can even be fun!”

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern recently received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools.



McCall Middle School eighth grade GEAR UP students display their prizes at the Durant State Fish Hatchery. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Grayson Axsom, Hezekiah Brooks, Cam Carroll, Trent Carter, Conner Cole, Gavin Collins, (middle row) Blake Eldridge, Danny Eldridge, Eli Eaves, Holton Franklin, Karson George, Cooper Hardison, Kody Heilbrun, (back row) Zaiden Johnson, Tommy Kelcey, Joel Lewis, Dominic Rodriguez, Adam Rushin, Noah Sherrill, and Creed Viefhaus.


Seventh grade GEAR UP students from McCall Middle School pose at the Durant State Fish Hatchery. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Alyvea Benefield, Trista Barrett, Joey Burrage, Cioni Brown, Rian Coulter, Alexia Cross, Ginger Cochran, Lucy Cochran, Makinzlee Glenn, Aven Hill, (back row) Alexis Leflore, Raeleigh Madden, Joy Mayo, Brandy Morgan, Kyleigh Ritchie, Hayley Rodriguez, Hailey Self, Shaun Stick, Ella Tapley, and Alayziah Washington.


Noah Sherrill and Holton Franklin, Atoka eighth grade GEAR UP students, learn how to prevent predators from eating fish by installing cabling.


Atoka seventh grade GEAR UP student Lucy Cochran smiles at wildife technician Rebecca Fillmore’s catch of the day.


Atoka seventh grade GEAR UP students listen intently as Durant Fish Hatchery technician Rebecca Fillmore discusses additional wildlife that can be found at the facility.

McCall Middle School eighth grade GEAR UP students pose at the Durant State Fish Hatchery. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Bryanna Barcus, Lilly Bray, Maggie Burleson, Gabby Clark, Taryn Finch, Kathryn Rogers, Allison Feb, Amairah Hill, Brandi Hall, Danielle Isadore, (back row) Brittany Kenyon, Brittney Morgan, Lexy Prindle, Alexis Reichert, Haley Robinson, Jamie Snowden, Miranda Sanders, and Leah West.


Seventh grade GEAR UP students from McCall Middle School in Atoka pause for a group photo at the Durant State Fish Hatchery. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Patryck Brooks, CJ Cooper, Parker Burrage, Alex Dong, Kade Embry, Andy Fox, John Gibbons, Heath Grimley, Tyler La, Zachary Lewis, (back row) Anthony McGee, Montana Mora, Pacer Pingleton, Luke Phay, Zachary Pursiville, Brian Rigatti, Edward Rockwell, Paul Skaggs, and John Williams.


McCall Middle School eighth grade GEAR UP students Lilly Bray, Taryn Finch, and Maggie Burleson make new friends at the Durant Fish Hatchery.


Durant State Fish Hatchery Technician Clint Beaver shows Atoka seventh grade GEAR UP students how catfish are raised in special breeding tanks. Picture are (left to right) Alyvea Benefield, Brandy Morgan, Hailey Self, Pacer Pingleton, Tyler La, and Rian Coulter.

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