After the early tease, spring comes SLOWLY to Vermont
I just got back from spending a week in Maryland, where my younger daughter and her family live and where on Sunday it was 84 degrees! Not so in Castleton on Friday. Instead, the temperature was struggling to get out of the 40s, and the Castleton River was a mere 44 degrees.
One day while in the D.C. area, I rented a rowboat at Fletchers Cove Boathouse and got out on the Potomac River for an hour and a half of fishing. The shad were running, and, using my 9-weight fly rod and, as you can see, a glittery gold "shad dart," I landed and released 16 of these fat and feisty anadromous fish (one pictured below). I can't think of many world capitals where, within the city limits, you can catch healthy, wild fish, much less on fly fishing gear. (Do you need to look up the definition of "anadromous"?)
This map shows you how close I was to downtown D.C., including to the White House.
Aron Merrill, of Williston Central School, sent me an interesting e-mail on Wednesday. Aron let me know when WCS will be having its Release Day (May 12 on Lewis Creek in Starksboro), but he also provided this:
We have had (fingers crossed) an amazing survival rate--so many in the tank we can't count them all. And we are running Trout Week May 8-12. Activities include: fly casting, water and trout science, lure making, fish and wildlife digest scavenger hunt, trout poetry. and art.
How cool is that!
Resources for field work
There are a number of documents available in the Google Docs collection on the VTTIC Web site that can support your efforts to learn and teach about stream.
One of these, an attractive PDF called "My Healthy Stream," was produced by Trout Unlimited.
Another, "Living in Harmony with Streams," was developed by a consortium of Vermont conservation organizations.
Here are links to the two documents.
Measuring stream speed
Along with many other potentially exciting field work projects, some TIC teachers have their students measure stream volume and speed. If you Google phrases like "measuring stream speed" or "measuring stream volume," you will find excellent instructional videos like the following.
Dissecting a trout
There's hardly anything that you can't learn to do on YouTube! That includes dissecting a trout. Here's one of many examples of videos you can find on the Internet that demonstrate the dissection process. You can use it either to (a) teach yourself how to perform a dissection in front of your students, (b) teach your students so they can dissect a trout, or (c) just have your students learn about trout anatomy by watching it.
Many supermarkets sell whole farm-raised rainbow trout, but you could also consider using locally caught warm-water fish like perch or bluegills. The anatomy will be essentially the same.
Here are three grant programs that could allow teachers to enhance their TIC work.
NCTM Accepting Applications for Projects Connecting Mathematics to Other 9-12 Grade Subject Areas
DEADLINE: November 3, 2017
Grants of up to $4,000 will be awarded for the development of senior high classroom materials or lessons that connect mathematics to other fields....
Toshiba America Foundation Accepting Applications for Science, Math Projects
Grants will be awarded to middle- and high-school teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students....
National Science Teachers Association Invites Nominations for Shell Science Teaching Award
DEADLINE: December 15, 2017
The annual $10,000 prize recognizes an outstanding classroom science teacher (K-12) who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and community through exemplary classroom science teaching...
Release Day schedule.
The list of dates and locations for Vermont's TIC Release Days continues to grow. The button below will take you to the latest version of the list.
But spring is here!
I started this blog post complaining about the temperature on Friday, but since then, the weather has gotten better. Here are three pictures I took this afternoon. The first is of the Castleton River near my home; the second and third are photos of trout lilies growing alongside the river. They are one of my favorite signs of spring!
If you're curious about how this delicate flower got its name, look carefully at one of the leaves.
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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.