Friday, January 8, proved to be a delightful day for the almost two-hour trip from Castleton to Roxbury. On the road before 8:00, twenty minutes later I'd picked up my 12-year-old grandson Calvin and Joe Kraus, membership chair of Southwestern Vermont Trout Unlimited, and we were headed north. By 10:00, we pulled into the parking lot of the quaint and historic Roxbury Fish Culture Station, founded in 1891, the second oldest hatchery in the country.
Two weeks earlier, I'd mailed a box of storage containers to Jeremy Whalen, hatchery supervisor, and he was ready for us when we arrived. After collecting food for each school and packing 11 red-topped plastic squares into a cooler I'd brought--carefully insulating them from freezer packs in the bottom and surrounding them with family towels to ensure they didn't slide around--we loaded our precious cargo into my 4Runner.
An hour and a half later we visited Rutland High School to deliver 200 eggs to Dawn Adams. Next stop was the Holiday Inn parking lot, where Joe left us and we rendezvoused with Kathy Ehlers, another Southwestern Vermont TU board member. Kathy's mission was to take eggs to Ed Robbins, at Mill River Union High School, and Lisa Marks, at Ludlow Elementary. Once we said good-bye to Kathy, Calvin and I were off to Castleton Village School, where Guy Merolle and his students were waiting for us.
From Castleton, after picking up three slices of pizza--two for Calvin, one for me--it was on to Fair Haven Grade School. One of Chris Stanton's students led us to her classroom so we could deliver eggs both for Chris as well as for Benson Village School. (BVS's Archie Clark would come down to FHGS at 3:15 to collect his babies.) Then we headed south for the big drop-off in Poultney.
With 9/11ths of our deliveries accomplished, we were off to Bennington County.
Forty minutes later, we arrived at Calvin's school, the Dorset School, and made our way to Karli Love's 5th grade classroom. Karli was out with a sick child, but volunteer Jim Mirenda was already setting up equipment so students could examine their new eggs.
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.