Tetonia Elementary School teacher Tori Herdman poses with a piece art which will be auctioned off during the art event next Monday at the Driggs City Center. “Trout in the Classroom” is the first-ever Kindergarten Collaborative Art Show which will hang until May 23.

Like to fish? Like art? Like little kids?

This project combines them all. Youngsters, even four- to six-year-olds, aren’t too young to learn about fish – and collaborate creating art about them. At least that’s the theory behind “Trout in the Classroom” and the first-ever Kindergarten Collaborative Art Show that opens next Monday, May 20, 5 to 7 p.m. at the Driggs Community Center.

Students from Tetonia Elementary School, Victor Elementary School, and the Learning Academy will be on hand during the Art Show Opening to talk about their individual projects and what they’ve learned from having tanks of trout in their respective classrooms.

A special collaborative art piece will be up for auction, through silent bids only, and parents and community members are encouraged to stop by to bid on it.

Teachers Tori Hederman of Tetonia, Emily Bedell of Victor and Alyson Jablow of Learning Academy are over-the-top enthusiastic about the Trout in the Classroom program, which is coordinated by Friends of the Teton River and Trout Unlimited.

“We are really excited to have collaborated and even more excited to showcase our kids’ learning and enthusiasm about trout,” Bedell said. Over the school year, the kindergartners have raised rainbow trout from egg to fry and then released them out into the wild – discussing life cycles, water conservation, habitats, and anatomy.

“We use place-based and project-based education,” she added, as the classes have gone on field trips to the Fish Hatchery in Jackson and to Connie’s Pond to release fish once they’re grown.

Doing a collaborative art project like this show has been a dream of Hederman’s for as long as her classes have been part of Trout in the Classroom. “This is a project that’s three years in the making,” she said.

Bedell agrees. “It’s been something we’ve wanted to do for a couple of years, but it’s actually happening this year!”

In Tetonia on Tuesday, Hederman shared the finished art piece that will be auctioned off. Its provenance is one that should please any local fisherman, and the money raised in the silent auction will go back into FTR’s education fund to keep this amazing program running, Bedell said.

“Without FTR and Trout Unlimited, this wouldn’t have been possible,” Jablow said. “It’s neat to be able to share it with the community.”

For those who can’t make it to Monday’s opening, the art show will be hanging up at the Driggs Community Center until Thursday, May 23.


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