Ugg. Power outages! Water temp 45 degrees?! A fish-eye view of TIC. Nile watershed residents visit TIC. Castleton Village School students present. More trout photos and videos.
Power outage in the Rutland area
At 5:31 pm on May 5, Pat Bowen, of Wallingford Elementary, sent me an e-mail reporting that her school had lost its power due to a ferocious wind storm. (I was in Clinton, NJ, at the Northeast Regional meeting of TU.) Here's what I wrote Pat in response.
There are three issues.
1) Dissolved oxygen. Try to pick up one or two battery-powered aerators. Many sporting goods stores, including bait stores, will sell them. You should be able to plug one of them into your air stone. I suspect Walmart will sell them too. Places like PETCO might have them as well as air stones larger than the one that comes with the battery operated aerator.
2) Temperature. The TIC manual recommends that you keep frozen dechlorinated water in a freezer at your school. If you haven't done that, put ice cubes in a well-sealed plastic bag and put that inside another plastic bag and seal it well. You may need several of these to keep your tank's temperature from rising excessively. You'll probably need to replace these every 8 to 12 hours.
3) Filtering. We can't do much about this unless your school has a back-up generator that, using lots of LONG extension cords, you can plug your filter into it. Don't feed the fish while the power is off. If water chemistry becomes a problem, water changes would help.
Good luck! Keep me posted. Let me know how it goes. Our best hope is that the power comes back on quickly. (Make sure your custodian knows that you'll want to know when the power returns.)
So, how'd it go?
Pat borrowed a battery-powered aerator from MSES's Jenn Tifft and took the fish home with her. (I called that their first sleepover!) By 8:30 Saturday morning, the power was back on. All fish survived. Here's a photo of Pat's fish in the bucket she used to take them home.
That's right! Your eyes didn't deceive you. When I measured the temperature of the Castleton River this afternoon, it was 45 degrees! You may remember that a mere two weeks ago the temperature of the same river was 56 degrees. So, if you have a release coming up in the next week and can't check the temperature of your release stream, I'd suggest that you keep the temperature at or below 50 degrees. For those releasing in two weeks or later, I'm hopeful that streams will be into the 50s by then.
A great report from Pownal Elementary
Mike Carrano, of Pownal Elementary School, sent me a terrific GoPro video he shot inside his classroom tank. As I said to Mike, "You're fish certainly are not camera shy." Enjoy!
Mike also sent me a link to a great Bennington Banner article on the TIC program at his school. Here's a link to it and a screen shot.
And Mike let me know that the American Museum of Fly Fishing has been writing a blog about his school's TIC program and including it in their Web site. Here's a link to it.
Nile watershed visitors? No way!?
On Thursday, I got this fascinating message from Dan "Rudi" Ruddell, of White River Partnership, who supports four TIC schools in the White River drainage.
Hi Joe - Attached are some pictures of South Royalton school 3rd and 9th graders engaged in a musical presentation and discussion of river issues with members of the Nile Project, as well as the visiting artists introduction to Lisa Dragon's high schoolers' trout tank.
The Nile Project is a collective of 35 musicians from 11 nations that share the resources of the Nile River. They presented a fascinating window into the challenges of bridging widely divergent world views to foster greater harmony and understanding among those bound by a common thread. As Mary Russ quipped afterward: "Watershed work in a nutshell!" It struck me that TIC plays a very similar role to their music.
Here are the pictures Rudi sent.
Student presentations at CVS
Guy Merolle and his 6th graders at Castleton Village School enjoy the advantage of being within walking distance of the Castleton River. As a result, Guy has his students spend the year working in and analyzing the characteristics of that trout-bearing waterway.
On April 28, Castleton University Associate Professor of Biology Andy Vermilyea and I attended some very impressive presentations by Guy's 40 students. Take a look at some of the students' slides. They cover the broad range of topics and questions that the students researched.
After the presentations, Andy put the students through their paces by asking a series of probing follow-up questions. It was amazing how much the students had learned this year!
More great publicity
Jason Gragen's NewBrook School in Newfane also received some nice Brattleboro Reformer publicity on their rainy Release Day last Friday.
Two more TIC videos
Two more recent Vermont TIC videos were sent to me today. The first, from Tiffany Tucker, is of the Hartland Cooperative Nursery School fish; the second, sent by Jenn Tifft, features the fry at Middletown Springs Elementary School.
Highgate Elementary School photos
Paul Legris, of Highgate Elementary, sent me some nice photos of their tank and fis. They look healthy, Paul!
Keep up the good work!
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.