Thursday, December 1, 2011


We are very happy to announce year-2 of our foray into raising native brook trout!  Four groups of students (Lansing 10th graders, Dryden 5th graders, Ithaca 4th graders at Northeast and Enfield schools) received brook trout eggs in late November, and we will check in on them periodically.  Finger Lakes Regional Parks personnel have also initiated a stream survey to select appropriate stream sites for future releases.  We would like to thank faculty and students at Cornell University, and Finger Lakes Regional Parks staff, for their invaluable input!
Josh Teeter (Fingerlakes Regional Parks- FLRP), TJ Ross & Cassie Garcia (Cornell Dept. of Nat. Res.) head upstream.  TJ is wearing an electro-shock kit that will temporarily stun fish.  Photo by Tom Hughes (FLRP).

One beautiful brown trout!

Naturally reproducing rainbow trout are also present in this stretch of Enfield Creek.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Leaving the Nest

Hello from Caroline Elementary!! We are super excited to be hosting Brown Trout for the 3rd time! This year our trout are very spunky and have been darting and dashing around the hatch basket. They have just started leaving it and are seeking the depths of the tank.

We have been charting our data everyday and have had zero fatalities in the last 2 weeks! We estimate that about 75% of the trout will survive! We will continue with our updates and look forward to reading all of the others.


We have a small "hole" in the rocks at the bottom of the tank where some of the glass is exposed. This is where the trout have been loving to congregate. Others have been staying near the safety of the hatch basket.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Very early on Monday, October 24, our intrepid volunteers made the trip to the Bath, NY, hatchery to pick up Brown Trout eggs for 10 of the 14 schools participating this year.

Thanks to Michael, Owen, Josh & Ken, we succesfully delivered eggs to Beverly J. Martin, Belle Sherman, Caroline, Cayuga Heights, Enfield, Fall Creek & South Hill elementary schools in Ithaca; Groton and Newfield Middle Schools and Trumansburg High School.

Additional schools will be receiving Brook Trout eggs in mid-November: Northeast elementary, Boynton Middle School, Lansing High School & Dryden Elementary. Our network of schools is growing each year.

Stay tuned for news and images from each participating school in upcoming weeks, as students get to know their fish!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Belle Sherman Trout Release

58 third graders, 54 brown trout, 65 degrees and sunny, 6 Mile Creek just above Water Street bridge:

We hiked to the creek and worked through 3 different activities. Camille Doucet led us in observing and drawing the place where creek meets land.

We had a woodland scavenger hunt.

We learned to use a kicknet! We found really cool macroinvertebrates and rated the stream health. The stream is a healthy one, so we could release the trout.

Bill gave the signal and we released our trout.

Kids, creek, woods, sun. It doesn't get much better than this!
Thank you Trout in the Classroom--see you next year!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hey Everyone - Check out our pals The Fly Rods, Friday on the Commons at the Ithaca Festival!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Scientific Illustration

Belle Sherman 3rd grades enjoyed their second visit from visiting artist Camille Doucet. This time children worked on illustrating the life cycle of the brown trout.

Next week, Camille will join us at our Trout Release Party at Six Mile Creek where she will lead us in a "drawing from nature" activity.

A big thank you to the Fine Arts Booster Group for funding Camille's visits to Belle Sherman and South Hill!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Belle Sherman Mini Fishing Day

Belle Sherman's Star Room 3rd grade had a "mini" fishing day in the classroom last Friday.
Matt Herman, co-teacher and TIC mentor brought in a collection of stream critters and fly-tying supplies. Children worked through 3 activity stations:

Stream critters:
We got to try out our new stereo-microscopes (THANK YOU, IPEI!) to observe caddisfly larvae and stoneflies. The microscopes magnify 200x... I can't tell you how many kids shrieked when they saw a stonefly through the lenses. It looked big enough to be a SERIOUS predator instead of prey!

Trout observation: careful observation of a fingerling.

Fly-tying: Children looked at pictures of stream critters and chose fur and feathers for Matt to use as he tied flies to match the pictures. We field tested the flies and found the trout were equally interested in Matt's flies as they were in the real thing!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Groton Release

We finally got some good weather and mud-free banks on the Owasco Inlet in Groton to let our Browns go.  We released them this morning in the midst of a midge hatch...nature's reassurance that our little guys will be properly fed!  We're all looking forward to the upcoming Floating Classroom trip!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stream Insect Studies Underway!

Third graders at Belle Sherman Elementary have been studying macro-invertebrate populations (these are stream insects and crustaceans which are visible without magnification) in stream samples. They are getting help from our amazing Cornell Ed. 2400 interns Amanda and Yuhang.

The students have used their knowledge of insects, combined with dichotomous keys to identify a variety of insect larvae- stoneflies, mayflies, caddisflies and more. Using Isaac Walton League stream survey forms, they have also determined that samples from Enfield Creek and Lick Brook indicate very health streams. Either would be good habitat for trout!

At the end of the class, we feed insect larvae to the trout- and the trout go nuts! Insects are an incredibly important food- as fly-fishermen know- and our trout recognized them right away. There was one exception however... the trout fry were not in the least interested in HORSEFLY larvae, pictured to the right. Why might that be???

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


These beautiful flowers are now in full (but brief) bloom throughout our woods and along many streams! We highly recommend are walk in the woods along your favorite stream. Check out the Cayuga Trails Club if you'd like to join a family-friendly hike, or scout the stream where your student will be releasing trout during the coming month!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Belle Sherman third grades (and South Hill fourth grades) have had their first session with visiting artist Camille Doucet, thanks to a Fine Arts Booster Group grant. Camille began teaching us the fundamentals of scientific illustration and the art of observing very carefully.
The most interesting thing that happened is that Camille noticed our fish at Belle Sherman were noticeably pinker than those at South Hill. Could it be our purple-red tank background? We'll observe our fish again after break with Yuhang and Amanda and officially compare the colors from "before" and "after."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Trout Coloration Experiment at Cayuga Heights

The second graders at Cayuga Heights want to give a big thank you to our friends at Belle Sherman and Caroline Elementary Schools for sharing some trout with us! They are doing well and seem to be enjoying their new home. All the fish are getting along right now, but we have noticed some of the bigger fish are starting to chase the smaller fish.

Because we were lucky enough to receive trout from different locations, we decided to conduct a coloration experiment. Our hypothesis is that the trout coloration will change to match the background of our tank. A few weeks ago, with the help of Bill and his trusty interns, we created a dark green background for our tank and made scientific drawings to document the trout coloration.

When the trout from Caroline arrived on Wednesday we noticed a clear difference in coloration compared to the trout that had been in our dark green tank. Our Cayuga Heights trout were darker than the trout that arrived from Caroline. We suspect that the tank in Caroline has a lighter background than ours. We will be observing and documenting the trout's coloration over the next few weeks to see if the Caroline trout start to blend in with our Cayuga Heights trout.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Caroline Trout

Here's a photo of us in front of our tank. Recently, we have been enjoyed observing a large trout, we named Jaws, terrorize the small fish in the tank. Jaws lurks behind the bubbler and has been seen with a tail coming out of his mouth. He is about 8cm long and looks much different from many other fish in the tank. His color is much lighter than the other fish and he has lighter, smaller spots. The dorsal fin closest to his tail is a bright, orange-red color. We are looking forward to seeing what other trouble Jaws gets into. Hopefully we can capture a picture of him in action. We will certainly post it if we do! Come check out some of our "Trout Tales", some involving Jaws, at the Ithaca Fishing Day on Saturday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lansing High Brook Trout

A few days ago we were cleaning out the tank with a tube. It took us a little while to figure out how to use it but in the end we did. We had one part of the tube in the water and the other in a bucket, one person sucked on the end out of the bucket and the water started to come out, then the other person vacuumed the bottom of the tank with the other end of the tube. This was a very effective way to clean. While the one person had their arm in the tank trying to vacuum all of the algae up. One of the fish continuously head-butted the persons arm, which was very interesting. This was interesting because a few weeks ago when we put the daphnia in with them they all tried to stay away from them but now that they have grown they have no problem with a whole human arm. As a quick side note, it is a few days after we cleaned the tank and it is already dirty, which is quite amazing.

Here is some nice video- check out the parr marks!
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-Zack Smith

Groton Voicethread

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ithaca Fishing & Conservation Day Announced

Free & Open to All
Trout in the Classroom School Displays
Presentations throughout the day; including Hydrilla Control in Cayuga Lake
Fly-casting, fly-tying lesson and fishing tips by local experts.

Live stream-insect and trout demos, featuring Boynton's own "Trout in the Classroom"

Badger Creek, Cortland Line, D&D Baits & Tackle, Mad River Tackle & Dubbing Co.

(Last year's video- only the date has changed!)

Lansing High Brook Trout

We have observed a very small brook trout, that is very skitish and fast. It seems to be afraid of the other bigger fish and it stays in a corner. When it moves, it moves incredibly fast, but it seems to be a runt. On a further note, we have not had any casualties in about a month. which I believe is because there now is enough room for all 31 remaining fish. We had started with 100 fish and have lost 69 of them, but I do not expect us to have many more casualties.

Check out the video here:
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lansing High Brook Trout

The growth of the brook trout popoulation and their interactions are an interesting topic to study. When the eggs first hatched, there was more than a hundred of the young trout. However, as they grew, their population went down.
When counting the population of the fish in the tank, we ran into some trouble. Although it sounds strange to have trouble counting fish, we found that the fish blend in to the rocks used at the bottom. At first we tried to count from left to right as fast as we could. It was a practical method, but wasn't working because the trout would swim around, making us unsure of what fish we had counted and what fish had not been counted. To try and counteract this, we put food in the water to try and get the fish to swim to the top and eat while we counted. This technique didn't have very much success as the fish would swim to the top one or two at a time, seeing as how all the fish didn't realize that food had been put into the tank. This method of counting was also unsuccesful because the fish became more agitated when food was put in and they moved around more, making it more difficult to count them. One method that we may try in the future is to take a picture of the fish and then count them all.
About two weeks ago Mr. Foster came into our school to feed our fish daphnia. About six kids came after school and we watched a very interesting powerpoint about daphnia. Before we watched it we isolated three fish into 3 seperate beakers and put blue paper around each beaker to soothe them. After we watched the powerpoint, we took the blue paper off and inserted some daphnia. Our fish shied away form the daphnia and did not eat many of them. The fish that I was watching only ate one Daphnia. The fish actually appeared to be marking its territory at one point. It swum around half of the beaker repetitively. We believe it is a possibility that the fish would have eaten more if we had put a rock or something to shelter them inside their cage because it would provide a more natural and safe feeling habitat.

Friday, February 18, 2011

We grow 'em BIG at Caroline

Hello fellow trout enthusiasts! It's Miss Bong here at Caroline finally making an appearance on this blog! We have been enjoying watching our trout eggs hatch and grow from alevin into young fry. We must have nutrient-rich water up on this hill because we have had very few fatalities. Our survival rate is about 75%! The tank is becoming crowded at these fry range in length from the smallest estimated at 2cm to the largest measuring in at roughly 6cm! They are voracious eaters and love to surf the current. Our class also wrote some "Trout Tales" to share with readers in the future. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bug Show at Enfield

Today, our wonderful Trout Unlimited mentor, Rich, came out to Enfield to share his expertise on aquatic insects. He specifically spoke about trout, their eating habits, and types of insects. Rich brought out the bug collection from Trout Unlimited. These insects are permanent samples they collected from Enfield creek. The same location our trout will eventually call home.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Plant Propagation

The Groton Middle School Environmental Action Club is currently trying to "green up" the hallways by introducing some houseplants on each floor.  We've decided to try using the trout water to root some spider plants.  As you can see they're doing quite well and the trout love the extra foliage!