What's going on in Vermont's TIC tanks? Super trout sculptures! Great overview of TIC @ Newark Street School. When should you let your feeding fry out of the basket?
Reports from the field
On Tuesday, Joe Frigo, of Riverside Middle School, sent this update on his school's tank.
Anticipating swim up this week! After a week at 46 degrees I've increased the water temperature by a degree and have begun taking the front cover off of the tank during the day. The increase in movement has been noticeable and I think swim up should happen in the next few days. Our current DI is 81.98 and growing! I tried to put in a little bit of food this morning and saw one or two alevine swim up!
At right is a photo of Joe's attractive tank set up.
Below are two pictures of his alevin.
Wonderful hallway trout sculptures at MSS!
Suzanne Alfano, 5th/6th Grade Science Teacher at The Maple Street School, sent me the following message:
Look what's swimming down our halls at Maple Street thanks to the collaborative efforts of our art teacher Leslie Sullivan and whoever the TIC teacher was that shared the resource. Our 5th Graders loved this project and we will definitely be making it part our TIC curriculum every year.
Here are three photos Suzanne sent me. Cool, huh! How about those great shadows?!
Documenting TIC at Newark Street School
Cindy Mosedale, first-year TIC teacher at Newark Street School, sent me a document she produced that describes their Trout in the Classroom program to date.
But first, a bit about Newark, Vermont, which I had to research and which I suspect may be the smallest and most remote Vermont town to host a TIC project. (If you think your town deserves that distinction, let me know.) With a maximum elevation of 1,319 feet, Newark lies on the northern edge of Caledonia County. It is south of Island Pond, southeast of Lake Willoughby, north of Burke, and is bordered by a large untracked region to the east. Its population was 581 in the 2010 census, with a density of 16 people per square mile. The history of its population growth and decline is interesting. In 1800 it had eight residents; by 1880 that had grown to 679. That all-time high was followed by a long period of continuous decline, which bottomed out in 1970 when there were only 144 people in Newark. Since then, growth has returned. By the way, Lowell, with a slightly larger population (738), is more sparsely settled than Newark (13.2 people per square mile). What do your kids know about your community and how it compares to others around the state?
Here's a link to a list of all Vermont's towns, including population data, area, etc. The town with the smallest population, by the way, is Lewis (Essex County) with no residents. Somerset (Windham County) has three, and Glastenbury (Bennington County) has eight.
Click here to see Cindy's document. And below are screenshots from Cindy's document. Great work, Cindy!
Jail break follow-up
The day after I posted the last blog, I got this good news from Keith Harrington, of Poultney Elementary School:
Good Morning Joe,
After our breeder basket dumped all of our alevin into the tank, I have just been going about normal procedures. No need to panic. As I said to my students, "We have been very lucky over the years compared to some schools. Maybe this was just our time to not be lucky!"
When I came back from Spring Break armed with a new small net to try to collect some alevin to put back in the breeder basket to make sure they were eating, I got a nice surprise. I caught two and put them in the basket. The next thing I know many were swimming up from the rocks to the top of the tank so I fed them. They attacked the food. So I Iet the other two back out to join their friends. More and more are swimming up every day. I am quite pleased. Looks like we have a nice group of survivors so far.
I was also glad to see after being gone for a week that the water chemistry was good. Except for GH that was quite high, all readings were near perfect.
That's a great turn of events, Keith! I am very happy to hear it.
We get by with a little help from our friends!
Liz Volpe, of Orwell Village School, sent me a nice note that day too.
I'd like to send a huge shout out to Eoin Noonan of Orwell Village School. He diligently fed the fry and checked chemical levels all week during the February break.
All of the trout were alive and well upon my return. This was a very exciting way to start back to work.
Can we give him some public recognition?
Yes, we can! Thank you, Eoin!!
When should you release your fry into the tank?
This morning, Joe Frigo, science teacher at Riverside Middle School, sent me this question:
Most of my trout are feeding and swimming around the breeder basket. Do you think it is ok to put the basket in a position that allows the more adventurous trout to swim out into the tank?
When I asked Joe when he started feeding his fish, he said last Friday. That prompted me to respond, "Keep them in the breeder basket for at least another week." Releasing fry into the tank too soon can be a major cause of die-offs. We recommend that you keep them in the basket for at least two weeks after they've all been feeding.
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.