What do our trout look like these days?
On Saturday I visited Currier Memorial School in Danby and met with teacher Michael Luzader. We had scheduled a couple of hours to inspect several possible release sites near his school. That gave me the chance to see his fish. Here's what his are looking like.
I love the way that fry all want to face into whatever current they detect. In this case, the current was created by a combination of the filter out-flow and the two aerators that Michael had installed. Send me photos and videos of your fry.
Release Day planning
Now that we've gotten past April Fool's Day--I hope someone in your life tricked you good!--it's time to get serious about planning Release Day. In this and future blogs, I'll address the four questions that have to be considered when thinking about Release Day:
Let us know what you've done in past Release Days that's worked for you and your students. We'll share those ideas with new TIC teachers or those eager to augment what they've done on Release Day in past years.
For new TIC teachers and those wanting to expand or spice up their Release Days
Now that we got that appeal for ideas out of the way, let's start with the question of what to do on Release Day.
In Vermont, we generally conduct Release Days between the middle of May and the middle of June. (That's part of the when. More to come.)
Release Days can range from simple, 20-minute long events to four-hour long ( or more) programs that include several different fieldwork activities. Schools that take the former, brief approach to Release Day are typically those that have engaged their students in fieldwork all year long. For example, Guy Merolle, science teacher at my local school, Castleton Village School, enjoys the luxury (because of the proximity of a nearby trout stream) of having his kids doing work in the Castleton River, just north of CVS, from August to June. When the end of the TIC program approaches, he doesn't need to provide additional fieldwork opportunities for his students, so he embeds the release of their fish into an annual service project that the whole school performs at Lake Bomoseen State Park. All the kids are transported to their release site. Guy and some students say a few words; they put their fry into a tributary of the Castleton River; everybody cheers; and then they get back on the buses and go on to Lake Bomoseen, where they pull water chestnuts or some other invasive species. A great Release Day for CVS!
But most schools don't have the option of year-round fieldwork, so they choose to augment the release of their fish with fieldwork activities. Here's a list of activities that some Vermont schools have included in past Release Days.
You can find details on how to conduct these various activities (a) in our VTTIC Google Docs folder, (b) at the national TIC Web site, or (c) on the Internet.
If I've listed above an activity you'd like to use on your Release Day and you can't find details on how to conduct it, let me know and I'll provide instructions or a description of the activity.
In my next blog, I'll start to tackle the questions of WHO you can get to help you on Release Day, WHEN to schedule it, and WHERE to hold it.
Crossett Brook Middle School
Here's what Crossett Brook Middle School's Meg Ritter’s fish are looking like:
Here are two pictures Meg's students took of their fish.
Castleton Village School
Here are a few photos I took while visiting Guy Merolle at Castleton Village School on March 29.
By the way, Guy doesn't have plants in his tank. Those are images on a background photograph behind the tank.
As some of you have reported, while many of Guy's fish look big and healthy, some are languishing on the bottom and not eating. This is probably due to the fact that, while Guy was on paternity leave spending time with his wife and their second baby, a substitute teacher lowered the basket--probably too early. These scrawny fish will almost certainly not make it. Be sure to remove them before they decompose and contribute to water chemistry problems.
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.