Well it's over--for this year! How to take care of a "flow through" chiller before you pack it away. Excellent curriculum resources from Natasha. Lots more documentation of what you all did. Can you get me any more data??
Great GNAT video!
The combination of more Release Days than I can count, time spent cleaning and packing away stream study gear, a trip to NYC to see Hamilton, a little fishing, and a "Sailing Camp" (on Lake Bomoseen) to teach three of my grandkids to sail caused my TIC blog identity to "go dark" for--can you believe it?--20 days.
One of our southwest Vermont Release Days, that of Fisher Elementary School in Arlington, was attended by Ann Hammerle, a reporter/videographer from GNAT (Greater Northshire Area Television), who produced this excellent video of the great day we had on the Roaring Branch.
What to do before packing away a flow-through chiller
You may remember that second-year TIC teacher and all-around superwoman, Lisa Marks, of Ludlow Elementary School, lost all her fish this past year. This occurred in spite of the fact that she had had a very successful first season in 2015-2016. Several of us spent hours trying to explain this result. Was it water chemistry? Was it missing the swim-up? Or was it the black gunk that began to grow in her tank??? We never came up with a confident explanation. But when, before getting replacement fry, Lisa drained her chiller and LOTS of black gunk came out, we began to strongly suspect that this was the cause of her tank's total mortality.
So I'm pleased to be able to share with you the process Lisa, her community partner Kathy Ehlers, and Ludlow's custodian Troy Adams engaged in to properly "mothball" their chiller for the summer.
First, they took off all the hoses.
Blowing the water out of the chiller
Troy attached a hose and used an air compressor to blow out the water.
Then he attached the air compressor to the opposite side and blew it out again.
When using an air compressor, blow out the solution until no water comes out. Then rinse water through and blow our again. Make sure someone holds the tube, and WEAR GOGGLES so that you don't get get it into your eyes.
Then they poured a bleach/water solution into the chiller (one side at a time) and blew the solution out using the air compressor.
Finally, Troy poured bleach solution through the hoses and then ran water through the tubing and pushed a thin cloth through, to clean the tubing.
Thank you Lisa, Kathy, and Troy!!
Terrific curriculum ideas
Natasha Grey, of Charlotte Central School, sent me a link to the folder she developed of great TIC curriculum ideas. I highly recommend you visit Natasha's site. But I also encourage you to send me your version of this idea. Here's the link to Natasha's collection.
National TIC quilt project
Here's a photo of Emma Vastola (the one wearing a key an a lanyard) and her proud Mount Holly School class.
More RD photos
Several of you have sent me terrific photos of your Release Days. One of the largest collection of photos cam from Danielle Levine, at Schoolhouse Learning Center.
Thanks, Danielle! Danielle also sent a collection of photos across the TIC year. Here they are.
John Cioffi, of St. Albans City Elementary School, sent me this great video documenting their TIC project this year.
John also sent this link to their class Haiku Learning Web site.
Brian Crane sent these photos of Rutland Town School's first Release Day.
Anna Kovaliv, of Camels Hump Middle School, provided a nice report on their program as well as seven photos. (Because I had to "steal" the photos from a Google Doc Anna sent me, they're smaller than most.)
7th grade students have been raising trout in their science lab as part of a program sponsored by Trout Unlimited. They received 110 eggs in January and have been monitoring their development over the past five months. Watching the trout develop and understanding the changes has been a wonderful learning experience. Students monitored water chemistry and learned about nitrogen cycles.
This past week, the Grit and Spark teams released the surviving 82 trout into the Huntington River (far better than the 1% survival rate in the wild!). It was great to watch them react to their new environment. Students commented on how well their coloring camouflaged them against the sand and rocks of the stream.
Raising the trout provided a wonderful educational experience that ties in with so much of the 7th grade science curriculum. CHMS hopes to have trout in the classroom again next year. A special thanks to Trout Unlimited for supporting this program and to Bob Wible, a volunteer, who provided guidance to our team throughout the project.
Data, data, data!
Finally, if you haven't already--and many thanks to those of you who have sent in data--can you please send me your data? I'd love to get (a) water chemistry data (including information on mortality and bacteria added) and (b) your DI and swim-up data.
Several of our Vermont TIC volunteers will be reviewing all the data we get to discern patterns that we can use in improving our systems next year. Your contributions to this "learning community" effort will be most appreciated.
Have a great summer!
May fly at sunset over Island Pond
Community volunteer Kathy Ehlers sent me this picture she took of a may fly resting on the back of her hand, with a gorgeous sunset over Island Pond as a backdrop.
And here's one on my back door screen last week.
Slowly releasing salmon at NCUHS!
Chris Murphy, of North Country Union High School, sent me this great slow-motion video as his class released the salmon they raised this year into the Clyde River. If you look closely, you'll see how some of the fry get "cold feet" at the last moment and swim back into the bucket. That strategy works only for so long however. Enjoy!
Bellows Free Academy
Bellows Free Academy's Melinda Carpenter also sent me lots of terrific information on their program. Along with send me their data and reporting that they released 71 fry, Melinda provided the link below to the class's excellent Web site. Make sure, among other links, you visit their "Pictures," where you'll find a 102-photo slideshow documenting the entire TIC process from start-up to clean-up. On the same page, don't miss the Videos link. It includes six cool videos, including one of trout eating caddis larvae.
Read what BFA students wrote in the class's TIC blog. There's also a whole page of Release Day pictures. Finally, you can't miss Creative Student Perspectives!
More end-of-year and Release Day reports
Benson Village School
Second-year TIC teacher Archie Clark, at BVS, provided this summary.
The kids had a fantastic year with the fish! I felt a lot more confident with the tank and the protocol since it was my second year. We were very successful and we actually released about 150 trout. I already have new ideas to incorporate with next years batch. In fact, I have laid the ground work to do a large interdisciplinary unit timed around the release of the trout with the math and Language Arts teacher on my team. I've used the philosophy of start small to go fast later.
Albert Bridge School
Community volunteer Audrey Halpert sent me this report today on their release.
We had a rain delay last week but we finally got our trout in the river today under cloudy skies but no rain. Brian Burkholder joined us from TU and did a great fly fishing demonstration station. We did water testing, macro invertebrates, water velocity, and stream habitat assessment along with the trout release.
We released 74 trout fry. Hopefully the fry do well despite the high water.
Waterville Elementary School
WES's Erin Paquette submitted this report as well as the photos that follow.
Seventy-six trout released today in an amazing K-6 afternoon event! Even though most of the program was with the 5/6 classroom (4th grade too at times), the entire school joined us for stations: Fishing 101, Fishing time, STEM Boat Challenge, Trout Release and Macroinvertebrate Hunt, Water Painting, and a Water Quest made by the 4-6th graders with the conservation organization. The 5/6 class also created a nonfiction story walk to the events. I can send more pictures as others send them to me. We had many positive comments and the hope for next year is to do an all day event!
PS: The classroom is very quiet now that the tank is off!
How about that giant golden stonefly!
You may recall that Ludlow Elementary School was one of several Vermont TIC schools that suffered total or nearly total die-off this year.
Thanks to the generous contributions of students in Castleton, Rutland Town, and Shrewsbury, Ludlow's tank was "restocked" with 45 immigrant brookies. That permitted Lisa Marks and her students to complete the program. So it was perhaps especially exciting for them to be able to release 41 of those 45 fish. Here are pictures from their Release Day at Hawk Mountain Resort on the Black River in Plymouth.
Shrewsbury Mountain School
Sabrina McDonough and her students at SMS enjoyed beautiful weather for their Release Day in the center of Shrewsbury, on the upper Cold River, just north of the W.E. Pierce Store. (One of our RD photos is even on the store's Facebook page as I write this.)
Here are photos from that outing. The second slideshow contains pictures of the teaching sessions Sabrina's students engaged in with SMS's Pre-K students.
Poultney Elementary School
On a day that threatened and then did rain, Keith Harrington's PES TIC students again released their trout into the Poultney River behind the Green Mountain College campus. Before the release, however, students convened in the Gorge Room at GMC to present their TIC-related research.
Here are a few pictures from the day.
Poultney High School
On June 1, Kaitlin Cioffi-Grote's PHS class in Marine Biology walked from class to the bank of the Poultney River behind their school to release their 86 fish. Here are a few photos.
More fry totals
Addison County volunteer Paul Urband sent me these numbers for schools he and his sidekick Doug Zehner work with.
Whew! What a busy time of year.
Over the last two weeks, I've attended seven Release Days, with three more to go this week. And you've had your own to worry about, all of which require a lot of preparation and, after they're done, time spent cleaning, drying, and reorganizing. There's hardly time to write a blog!
Here's what my lawn looks like after a typical release day.
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.