A lesson in the environment and fish release
By CARLA KOLBE
For The Leader-Herald
EDINBURG — Students from Doug Hammons fourth-grade class at Northville Central School released trout they raised in the classroom, into the Adirondack wild on May 19. Each student under the direction of their teacher was allowed to release one trout into a cool running stream at Sand Creek in Edinburg.
This is the culmination of a year round project called Trout in the Classroom, where teacher Doug Hammons works closely with the Great Sacandaga Lake Advisory Council, (GSLAC), Trout Unlimited and Saratoga County, to raise trout in his classroom. Hammons students experience a hands on education about their environment and conservation. “I’m passionate about our ecology and our environment,” states educator, Doug Hammons. This is Hammons third year participating in the project. He generally leads the students from the fertilization of the eggs, to receiving them at the eye-egg stage around November in the classroom. The fingerlings, which hatch in late October, are almost an inch and a half long by mid-January. Towards the end of the school year, students are able to release the fry into an approved watershed.
The students participate in maintaining the tank, feeding the fish, journaling and monitoring every stage. “They actually become very attached to the fish,” said Hammons. “They watch them and name them too.”
A dedicated labor of love is the project. The tank is perpetually monitored and kept at a chilled to about 50 degrees. Students and teacher work hand-in-hand with entities in their community to pull off this project. The seed money, tank, chiller and classroom equipment are provided by the GSLAC. The educational aspect of the program is supported by Trout Unlimited and their Trout in the Classroom program. Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a conservation-oriented environmental education program for elementary, middle and high school students. Saratoga County has a fish stocking program that incorporates the school children every year.
GSLAC Treasurer and Director of Planning for Saratoga County, Jason Kemper stated “It is great to see the school children once again participating in the Trout in the Classroom program and learning about the environment. With the pandemic these activities were curtailed. The enthusiasm from both the students as well as teachers and instructors from Trout Unlimited clearly show the value of this program.”
The release, which took place on Wednesday, included an educational program together with Kemper, Trout Unlimited Classroom Coordinator Ron Dorn, and Clearwater Trout Unlimited volunteers Chris Avery and Ron Ballisario. The students each geared in waders with boots, released the fingerling trout, were educated on the ecology of the brook and were taught fly-fishing techniques. About 21 healthy trout were released.