Some schools will be receiving their eggs this week, but most got their eggs last week. Here's a photo that Central Vermont Trout Unlimited volunteer Syl Stemple sent me of the egg delivery crew he worked with. Syl (the handsome dude who's second from left) and his buddies brought eggs to schools in northern Vermont, including the Northeast Kingdom, where TIC interest is expanding.
Colleen Legris, at Founders Memorial School, sent me these photos of the eggs she received last week.
Most of those eggs look great, but there are a couple in the righthand photo that might be dying. Can you see the ones that appear to be opaque? I'd suggest keeping an eye on those. When and if they turn white, they should be removed. Also make sure you remove egg shells after the eggs have hatched and any mold that you notice.
Colleen also sent these photos of Bob Wible and one of her colleagues setting up their tank.
Eggs hatching already???
I've gotten a few inquiries from teachers who were surprised that some of their eggs have already hatched. Indeed, that is unusual but not unheard of. I checked last year's blond found that on January 14, I shared the following reports from teachers.
Are "preemies" normal?
It depends on what you mean by "normal." In any group of 100 eggs some will hatch early, some will hatch late, and many will hatch at about the time you'd expect them to.
It's just like human gestation. On average, women tend to deliver 280 days, or 40 weeks, after conception, but few deliver exactly at that time. The vast majority, however, will deliver in the four weeks that bracket the due date (from two weeks before the due date to two weeks after the due date). But some babies come much earlier than their due date, and a few are more than two weeks late.
Here's a chart of human gestation. Perhaps your students can produce a similar column chart of brook trout hatching dates.
Professor Facey visits Lowell Graded School
Some of you will recall that both at our November workshop and in this blog we've discussed what some might call ethical issues related to the TIC program. Some of these have to do with the use of triploid eggs; others were prompted by the Artifishal documentary that some teachers and students have watched.
That was the case at Lowell. Jennifer Blay and her students watched the documentary, and it left Jenn's students wanting to learn more, both about triploids and about hatcheries in general. In response, Jenn asked me if there might be experts available to meet with her students and answer some of their questions. I reached out to biology faculty at a few Vermont colleges and universities and was extremely pleased that Doug Facey, biology professor at St. Michael's College offered to visit Lowell Graded School to meet and talk with Jenn's students, which he did on January 8.
HI Joe - I visited Lowell today. Talked with 7th graders for about an hour, and then 5th, 6th, and 8th graders joined for about an hour. Some really good questions were raised, and I hope I answered them accurately.
I thought it went pretty well, and enjoyed the visit. I might even try to make it back in May for release day.
In addition, Jennifer, I'd be willing to spend some time on a return visit in Spring to hear more from the students about what they learned from the experience and how they feel about the issue of stocking. Are you going to ask them to make any kind of presentation, either individually or in groups? It could even be set up as a debate, with two "teams," each taking a different stand (pro/con) and defending their position (students could be assigned randomly, regardless of how they feel). That might be a bit of a leap for 5th- 8th grade, but it does help them recognize and seriously consider other points of view. Please let me know how things go with the eggs and fish (too bad about having to re-start the water seasoning) and what your plans are for spring.
Here's a video of part of the Q&A that Doug had with the students.
Where are those pesky data sheets?!
Several teachers have contacted me to ask how to find the data sheets for recording water chemistry data (and other things) as well as for predicting/controlling "swim up." I've sent them as attachments before and included a link to the folder containing them in a previous blog post. But I recognize that we all get way more e-mail than we want, and it can be difficult to find the message we're looking for when we need it. The good news is those teachers remembered that those spreadsheets exist and must be stored somewhere.
So, here's my response for any of you who may need to find those spreadsheets:
Earlier, I had suggested that you save your data spreadsheets to the "Individual school spreadsheets" folder, but Rudi Ruddell has told me to say that that might not be an option for teachers. He has offered a couple of suggestions for how to make that work. (It would be very helpful to all of us who are managing the TIC program to have easy access to that data.)
Rudi and I will confer get back to you shortly with instructions for saving your data files on the Google Docs site.
Send photos and movies as well as reports on how your trout are doing.
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.