Juniata High School biology students are one of ten classrooms in the Susquehanna River watershed raising the American eel for release into local waters. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission provided each of the two participating classrooms 15 eels in September, and funding through a DEP Environmental Education grant established the classroom learning stations. The students plan to release them into the Juniata River at the Canal House on May 4th. Many conservation agencies and local officials will be joining the students in their release efforts.

Juniata High School received 15 eels on September 9, 2021 for Mrs. Shertzer and Mrs. Rygel’s classes. Later, Mr. Henning brought 15 more eels for each classroom, for a total of 30 eels between the two classes. During that time, students have been learning about the unique life history of the American Eel and their importance in the Susquehanna River Basin. Students have been responsible for general care of the eels; feeding, cleaning the tanks, and checking water parameters. Additionally, observing the behavior of the eels has been fascinating. The eels have been fed a variety of foods including brine shrimp, dried bloodworms, live macroinvertebrates, and live fry. The eels will be released on May 4, 2022 in the Juniata River.

Eels are predators. They eat a wide variety of aquatic insects, crayfish and other crustaceans, frogs, fishes and worms. They feed mostly at night.

The Eels in the Classroom program has been so successful that East Juniata High School and Juniata Elementary School have applied for the program and have been approved to receive eels for the 2022-23 academic year.

Set a reminder to listen in to Merf Radio’s Morning Show with Rocco Pallotto on Thursday, March 31, as JHS’¬†Fiorella Berbergi-Giraldo a freshman biology student in Mrs. Shertzer’s Class and Carsen Kepner, also a freshman, from Mrs. Rygel’s class.

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