Is your tank set up??
There's not much time left to get all your equipment set up. If you're doing this for the first time, I hope you've figured out how to wrap your tank--all six sides, including the bottom!--in foam insulation. (Bob Wible has generously prepared detailed plans for how you can produce all the parts need to insulate a 55-gallon tank. Here are Bob's plans for doing this using one-inch thick foam board. His plans for using 1.5" board, last year's model, can be found in the Google Docs collection.)
For experienced teachers, (1) is your equipment clean and (2) have you ordered and received your replacement supplies?
At this point we are mainly interested in confirming that we have all the parts and pieces that we need and that everything works well, including that the chiller is capable of maintaining the temperature at or near 40 degrees. For those with the current equipment configuration--TradeWind drop-in chiller and AquaClear 110 filter--reread Chapter 3 of the current Vermont TIC Manual. For those with Flubval filters and/or flow-through chillers, consult last year's MD/DC TIC Manual, also available in the Google Docs site.
Once you've established that everything is working properly, follow the instructions on page 18 of the Vermont TIC Manual.
Egg pick-up and delivery
Except for the four schools that raise landlocked Atlantic salmon (and any teachers who make special arrangements to get your own eggs from the hatchery), eggs will be delivered to schools sometime during the first two weeks of January. Each of the five regions of the state has a TIC liaison, and that person should be putting together a plan and a schedule for egg delivery. If your regional liaison doesn't contact you by December 15, you should reach out to that person and inquire about the plan. If you don't know who the liaisons are, you can find them listed here.
Reread Chapter 4 of the Vermont TIC Manual.
An example of a great release stream
Barry Mayer, one of our southwestern Vermont TU volunteers, has ben helping new TIC teacher Emily Hunter, of Mount Anthony Union Middle School, assess the appropriateness of one of her nearby streams as a release site. Barry concluded it looked perfect. I concur.
Here are some photos Barry took of the stream.
Thanks for those great pictures, Barry! These can give you an idea of what to look for in a release stream. I'll be writing more about the characteristics of the ideal release site early next spring.
Hoosier Riverwatch macroinvertebrate poster
In our last blog I mentioned that I was endeavoring to get hard copies of the macro poster that some of you told me you liked. Well, somewhat to my surprise, a very nice person at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources offered to send me a box of 200! That number might hold us for two or three years. I will send some of those to the Roxbury hatchery before egg pick-up season for any of our egg delivery volunteers who want to bring them to the schools to which they will be delivering eggs.
Here's what it looks like. (It's 17" X 22".)
I trust that your kids are getting excited about having trout in their classroom!
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.