May 3, 2024- The Palisade High School Fish Hatchery team release their 1000th endangered razorback sucker into the Colorado River at Riverbend Park in Palisade, Colorado- Photo Titus Cleveland KREX

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Students of Palisade High School collaborated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release 1,000 razorback sucker fish into the Colorado River on Friday. Reflecting on their involvement in the fish hatchery program, some students shared their experiences. “My sophomore year, I started going down there every day to feed the fish. Then, last year, I did an internship through the school with the fish hatchery,” said one student.

The hands-on nature of the program shaped the students’ perspectives on conservation. “It has kind of made me realize I want to stay freshwater-focused, so I still want to go into biology but I don’t necessarily want to do marine biology; I want to do something like I’m doing now,” explained another student.

Mr. Steele emphasized the commitment of his students, stating, “We have students that are down at our fish hatchery every single day. That’s what’s awesome about this project—it’s a whole school operation.”

Involved in rescuing and releasing endangered razorback suckers, a species that has inhabited the Colorado River for an astonishing 5 million years, students found the experience rewarding. “Probably the most rewarding part about being in this program is knowing that you are a part of something bigger than yourself…knowing that you are a part of the conservation of these incredible species. Because these are really amazing fish,” shared a student.

The entire community, including iconic wildlife figure Jeff Corwin, came out to support the students. Corwin remarked, “I have spoken to students today that will now have careers that will take them into science, conservation, ecology, largely from this universal experience.”

The experience and well wishes imparted by Corwin left a lasting impression on the students and attendees alike.