Now that schools have their eggs and eggs are starting to hatch, some teachers have begun to ask, "When do we feed them?"
This may be the most important question faced by those raising brook trout. Our newly hatched little critters are called "alevin," pronounced al-a-vin, with accent on the first syllable, which sounds like "pal." Like tadpoles, alevin sit atop a yolk sac. This contains all the food they'll need for several weeks. How quickly they consume that food depends on water temperature. At 52 degrees, it could be gone in a month or so; at 40 or less, the yolk sac might last three months.
Because none of us have much experience raising trout, we don't develop the ability to see the subtle changes that permit hatchery personnel to recognize when the alevin are approaching the "swim-up" phase, when they will start looking for food on the surface.
As a result, it's critical that TIC schools keep good daily temperature records and use these to calculate Cumulative Development Index. This process is so important that we have a special Web page to explain the methodology. That page (link below) also includes a form that will allow you to determine what your water temperature should be in order to bring alevin to the swim-up phase just when you want them to get there.
Joe Mark, Lead Facilitator, Vermont Trout in the Classroom
In June 2012, I retired after 40 years in higher education, having spent the last 32 years of my career as dean at Castleton. One of the first things I volunteered to do in retirement was to work with Jim Mirenda to help the Dorset School, where his kids and my Vermont grandkids attend, start a TIC program. Gradually that commitment grew into my current role, which is both demanding and highly rewarding.