It's starting to get beautiful--and very fishy--out there! Here's a picture I took yesterday of Giddings Brook in Hubbardton. The water temperature, by the way, was 56 degrees.
It's Release Day season
At this time of year there's probably a Release Day occurring somewhere in the state on every day of the week. It's exciting but also bittersweet to gather with your students on the banks of a stream as you prepare to let them go for good.
I love getting reports on your Release Days, and they're starting to trickle in, as are the photos and videos.
Jason Gragen and his students at NewBrook School had their release on May 10, when they put 86 carefully tended fry into their local stream. They also got a nice article in the Brattleboro Reformer covering their release. (Click on the image below if you want to read it.)
Essex HS RD video
Kelly Hill, of Essex High School, sent me a terrific video that they made on their Release Day. If you click on the image below, you'll go to the GoPro.com Web site where their video is hosted. (All the other videos I've put on the VTTIC Web site are ones I've uploaded to YouTube.) Since you'll leave the VTTIC Web site to watch the video, you might have to return to this site to continue reading the blog.
From raising fish to catching fish!
Adding fly casting to TIC
Several of our schools have augmented the usual TIC curriculum with activities related to fly fishing. I've talked about TU volunteer Kathy Ehlers, who demonstrates fly tying. Another TU volunteer, Barry Mayer, has taught middle schoolers fly tying. Most recently, Barry and a second TU volunteer, Christian Betit, taught students attending an after-school program at Shaftsbury Elementary School fly casting.
Here are some photos of the kids practicing.
Grad course for TIC teachers, but you have to act fast!
Yesterday Tara Granke, TU national TIC coordinator, sent me information about a graduate course that is being offered this summer--in fact, right now!--for teachers engaged in TIC.
Here's what Tara said in transmitting the course announcement.
I want to pass on this opportunity this summer for an online Graduate Summer Course through Mary Baldwin University. The Course is 100% online, is all about TIC, and the first of its kind! You will earn 3 hours of graduate credit. The cost of tuition is $1,040. See attached flyer for more details. The course started on May 20, but there should be time to still sign up. Contact Dr. Tamra Willis asap.
You can reach Dr. Willis at 540-887-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Click on the image below to download the flyer.)
I recognize that the timing of this course and the super late notification about it will likely prohibit most if not all of you from participating. If, however, it seems like something you might have liked to do, say, if it were a summer course and you learned about it well in advance, let me know. Perhaps we can get Mary Baldwin to offer another section.
Schoolhouse Learning Center media
In the past, many of you have enjoyed the close-up photographs and videos sent by Danielle Levine, of the Schoolhouse Learning Center. Well, here are some more!
Thank you so much for these, Danielle. They're a gift to all of us!
An interesting way to expand the educational impact of the TIC program is by studying trout anatomy through a dissection activity. This requires, of course, that you obtain some dead fish. These need not be trout, as the anatomy of all fish are very similar. You might be able to get a few trout from a local hatchery, either public or private. If that's not an option, ask anyone you know who fishes.
Click on this image to access a PowerPoint slide show about trout dissection.
As is so often true, you can find many excellent resources on YouTube that can teach you about the dissection process. Here's one that's six minutes long.
Here's one that's 20 minutes long.
Local brook at flood stage
This, which took place a couple of weeks ago, is an indication of what can happen at this time of year. It's why you need to have a back-up plan for Release Day!
The power of the spawning impulse!
On a lighter note, here's a wonderful video I got from my friend and fellow TU/TIC volunteer Barry Mayer. Apparently as you approached this site, you encountered a sign saying, "Drive Slowly, Fish Crossing." The photographer added: "It happens in the vicinity of the Skokomish River, Shelton, Washington, USA. If the river floods, the salmon take short cuts swimming across the road to go upstream to spawn. Happens almost every year… awesome!!"
Barry Mayer, SWVTTU TIC volunteer also sent me this video that he shot on 5/2/19 at Mount Anthony Union Middle School while visiting Emily Hunter's 8th grade science class. The fish look good!
Count your fish
Unless you have very few fish, it's extremely difficult to get an accurate count of your trout when they're swimming around actively in the tank.
But I will want you to tell me how many trout you released, so the time to count them is when you're transferring them from the tank to the cooler you'll use to transport them to the release site.
Here's the procedure that I recommend:
Ice pop and trout
TIC volunteer Jim Mirenda sent me this photo of his daughter on a day they visited the Dorset School tank. Jim and I "cut our TIC teeth" in the fall of 2012 as co-volunteers at the Dorset School. That was the first time either of us had assisted with a TIC program.
Joe Mark is Lead Facilitator of Vermont's Trout in the Classroom program.
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 a parent-friend 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.