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Cadillac High School Ecology Club

Girl with fish and bucket Ecology Club President Anesa Liptak and Vice President Hailey Wingard Girl with fish in a bucket kicked off the school year for the Ecology Club when they attended the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (LRBOI) Annual Sturgeon release at Rainbow Bend on the Manistee River just west of Brethren.

More than 145 sturgeon were released back into the Manistee River this weekend by the attendees of the public event. The Students also learned the cultural importance of the species to the tribe and their efforts to help this fish make a comeback in the region.


     The students learned that water from the neighboring river is pumped into the facility to imprint on the sturgeon as they grow. When the sturgeon reach 120 cm in length, they are released back into the waters to start their life cycle with a better chance of survival. In 15 to 20 years, they will return to the same area to spawn. Sturgeon will live upwards of 100 years and be more than five feet long. Since each fish is radio chipped, much like domestic pets, biologists will be able to determine if returning adults were raised in the facility.

     Ecology Club Advisor Debra-Ann Brabazon said that the opportunity for students to get engaged in their environment through programs such as this is a memorable event to raise awareness and interest in the importance of environmental care of your own community. Students will conduct a storm drain assessment, test water, conduct stream surveys and

     For the next three years the Ecology Club will be focused on Water Quality, raising awareness to local residents about the quality of the water in both lakes Mitchell and Cadillac. Ecology Club Advisor Debra-Ann Brabazon said, “I can’t think of a better way to start the clean water campaign than to release a fish back into the waters it was born in.”

     The ecology Club is open to all Cadillac High School students interested in the outdoors or potentially selecting a career in any field of environmental studies. The Cadillac High School Ecology Club is a joint venture between the school district and the US Forest Service to expose teens to local environmental issues, careers and professionals. The USFS Junior Rangers is a teenaged volunteer program engaging youth in  their local community through environmental awareness and action.

     "Our partnership with the US Forest Service has been incredibly valuable for our students and community. Not only have our students been exposed to authentic learning experiences through ecology club and the Jr. Rangers program, the leadership and career skills that have been developed have had a larger impact than anticipated. Our students have gained insight to fire prevention and safety, environmental sustainability and responsibility, civic duty, animal habitats, leadership and service. We have found such value for our students in this partnership, we are excited to see programs grow and expand," said Jennifer Brown, Superintendent of Cadillac Area Public Schools.

bucket in water for sturgeon release Sturgeon in a pool

Junior Rangers assist Anesa Liptak (L- front)   Hailey Wingard (R)