A lesson on the environment and the liberation of fish | News, Sports, Jobs
For the leader-herald
EDINBURGH – Students in Doug Hammons’ fourth-grade class at Northville Central School released trout they had raised into the classroom in the wild Adirondacks on May 19. Sand Creek in Edinburgh.
It’s 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 raising trout in his classroom. Hammons students receive hands-on education about their environment and conservation. “I am passionate about our ecology and our environment,” state educator Doug Hammons. This is Hammons’ third year of participation in the project. It usually leads students from fertilization of eggs to their reception at the eye-egg stage around November in the classroom. The fry, which hatch in late October, measure nearly an inch and a half in mid-January. Towards the end of the school year, students can release the fry into an approved watershed.
Students participate in the maintenance of the tank, feeding the fish, logging and monitoring each step. “They actually become very attached to fish”, Hammons said. “They look at them and name them too.”
Dedicated labor of love is the project. The tank is constantly monitored and kept at a temperature of about 50 degrees. Students and teachers work hand in hand with the entities of their community to carry out this project. Seed capital, tank, cooler and classroom equipment are provided by 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-focused environmental education program for elementary, middle and high school students. Saratoga County has a fish storage program that incorporates school children every year.
GSLAC Treasurer and Director of Planning for Saratoga County Jason Kemper said “It’s great to see school kids participating in the Trout in the Classroom program and learning about the environment again. With the pandemic, these activities have been reduced. The enthusiasm of the students as well as the teachers and instructors of Trout Unlimited clearly shows the value of this program.
The outing, which took place on Wednesday, included an educational program with Kemper, Trout Unlimited class coordinator Ron Dorn and Clearwater Trout Unlimited volunteers Chris Avery and Ron Ballisario. The students each wearing waders with boots, released the fry trout, were trained in the ecology of the stream and learned fly fishing techniques. About 21 healthy trout were released.