Sunfish and Students

Sunfish and Students Raising Bluegills in the Classroom 

Bluegills are a type of small, native sunfish found everywhere in Maryland - ponds, lakes, even tributaries of the Bay. They can be used to make a direct connection for students or visitors between their own watershed and the health of the rivers and Bay.

This program is open to classroom teachers or outdoor/nature centers. The Department of Natural Resources supplies everything – equipment, fish, and food. A teachers’ manual​ is also provided which includes information on aquarium set-up and maintenance, care and feeding of the fish, background information, and lesson plans. All lessons are correlated to the Maryland State Curriculum and Environmental Literacy standards.

New participants must register and complete the Sunfish and Students Training Workshop. This training will be conducted virtually again this year. It will take place on Saturday, October 9th from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. A link to the virtual workshop will be sent via email after registration. There will be two locations for fish and equipment pickup for both new and returning teachers. Fish pick up in Annapolis will occur on Tuesday, October 12th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM 3:00-5:00 PM. Fish pick up at Hood College will occur on Thursday, October 14th from 2:00- 4:00 PM 3:00-5:00 PM.​

If you are interested in joining the program, please send the following information to to register: your name, work email and personal phone number; grade and subject taught; and name, address and phone number of your school. Reimbursement for substitutes is available. Feel free to peruse the teachers’ manual (available online) to explore our bluegill lessons. 

In the spring, the fish are either returned to the Department of Natural Resources or are released as part of a department coordinated release event. Participants must contact their regional fisheries manager to determine location for release. For a list of DNR Freshwater Fisheries Managers by region, please click here​.

Click here for the Teachers Manual 

​Click here for the Sunfish and Students Workshop Presentation

For more information:


Chelsea Miller
Aquatic Resources Education
Chesapeake and Coastal Service
MD Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401

Sport Fish Restoration