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High school ecology Lake Hanson's hands-on learning

Levi Doyle, left, reaches out to grab a net of fish from Mason Mayer, during Wednesday's annual analysis of fish in Lake Hanson for their ecology class at Hanson High School in Alexandria. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)1 / 6
Sarah Kayser, right, and Amanda Kaufmann, juniors at Hanson High School, measure the length of a northern pike as part of the ecology high school class Wednesday morning at Lake Hanson. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)2 / 6
Kevin Muilenburg, a junior at Hanson High School, hauls a net of fish onto the boat Wednesday morning at Lake Hanson, south of Alexandria. Muilenburg and his high school ecology class, with the help of the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Department, netted fish to document the length, type, and size of fish in Lake Hanson. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)3 / 6
Levi Doyle, and Tristan Bender, juniors at Hanson High School, scoop a northern pike out of a holding bucket to be weighed and measured Wednesday morning at Lake Hanson. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)4 / 6
Hanson High School ecology students weigh a northern pike as part of their yearly documentation of the fish in Lake Hanson on Wednesday south of Alexandria. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)5 / 6
From left to right, SDGF&P conservation officer Andy Petersen, Hanson High School junior Jerrod Zens, and Matt Talbert, conservation officer based in Salem, load empty nets into the boat Wednesday at Lake Hanson, south of Alexandria. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)6 / 6

ALEXANDRIA -- Hanson High School students did a little fishing for a hands-on ecology class project Wednesday morning at Lake Hanson.

As a joint project with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the class netted fish in the lake, located south of Alexandria. They then collected data on what was caught.

It's an ongoing project for the past 20 years, according to Hanson teacher Steve Pociask.

"We do it every spring," Pociask said. "We are getting lengths, numbers and weights for each net."

Five nets were placed in the lake Tuesday and sat overnight to trap fish. The nets are placed in the same location every year.

Wednesday, students retrieved the nets from the lake and analyzed fish that were caught. The fish were counted, weighed and measured. Then, those numbers were compared with previous year's data. Each year's data is sent to the lake association and GF&P.

Northerns, bullheads, bass, catfish and crappies were some of the species that were pulled from the nets this year.

The main reason for the class is to get the students outside for hands-on learning, said Pociask.

"It is kind of a neat project," he said. "Kids get to work with professionals and it keeps their minds engaged and focused, especially this time of year."

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