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Parkview Elementary teacher Pam Fitches and her fourth-grade class have received a Conservation and Education Award and a check from Trout Unlimited.
The students, under Fitches leadership, built a 6-foot realistic model of a Bonneville cutthroat trout, the state fish of Utah and the only trout native to the state.
"We wanted to recognize Pam and her class for their work, They are bringing recognition to a native fish species to the public through kids' eyes," said Don Duff, aquatic ecologist and past president for the Utah Council of Trout Unlimited. "They are learning what some of the problems are when it comes to protecting native species."
Fitches decided to study the fish as part of the fourth-grade Utah studies lesson plan. The project ended up serving as a primer on conservation and the threats people impose on wildlife.
The model, which affectionately became known as "Big Bonnie" ended up becoming a project for the entire Glendale school. Fitches believes roughly 200 students in grades three through six helped complete the fish.
Big Bonnie was entered in the "Walk on the Wild Side" art show held for Salt Lake School District students at Hogle Zoo in May and earned Best in Show.
The big fish may now also be displayed at the Utah Musuem of Natural History in an upcoming show called "Bear River: Last Chance for Survival."
Fitches said she would use the $100 check her class received to buy pizza on the last day of school.
* BRETT PRETTYMAN can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-257-8902.