Thursday, December 13, 2012

We had a great intro to trout lesson yesterday with Bill Foster and Ashik Rahaman a Cornell scientist who is currently working on a whale project. One of our questions about our trout is why do they prefer the glass bottom of our tank over the gravel?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cayuga Height's Two-Headed Trout!

Second graders at Cayuga Heights have made a very interesting observation. One of our trout has two heads! It appears that it also has two sets of organs and simply shares a tail. Check out the photos and video below.

Support TIC!

Trout in the Classroom depends on community support, and now we can accept tax-deductible donations!  We'll accept any amount, but here are some ideas:

$10 - general support.
$40 - buys waders for stream studies.
$100 - annual equipment maintenance for one school.
$1000 - complete new aquarium system at a school of your choice!

For more info, click on "Support TIC", above!

Trout in the Classroom is also looking for classroom mentors!  This is a great chance to share your love of nature and learning with younger members of the community.  No experience necessary; training provided! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Benefit Concert!

Our thanks to Don Bazley, of the Fly Rods, for selecting Trout in the Classroom as the beneficiary of his annual birthday benefit concent.  Click on this image for more info on Facebook.  See you there!
A Tribute To the Music of Led Zeppelin... to benefit the Trout In The Classroom program of Tompkins/Cortland counties

Monday, November 19, 2012

Brown Trout are Out & About!

I visited the awesome kids in Dr. Christopher's 7th grade science classes at Newfield Middle School today.  Almost all of their trout fry are out of the hatch basket, swimming freely and starting to feed!  Turns out this is right on schedule, based on last year's experience!  Have other classes observe "swim up" yet?  If you look really closely, perhaps you can just make them out...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Results are Coming In...

Well, this isn't quite the presidential election, but in the spirit of the day, with about 50% of the vote in, here are partial results of our poll, asking students, "Out of 100 eggs hatching now, how many trout do you believe will survive to release day in the spring?"

With stories from older students about the outstanding survival rate last year (average 50+ fingerlings released!), it looks like everyone is pretty optimistic this year. 


Here are expectations from prior years for comparison.  Note the lean toward "less than 50%"!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cayuga Lake Turns Over!

Cayuga Lake, October 30
With a little help from Tropical Storm Sandy, Cayuga Lake appears to have undergone its annual fall turnover!  Observers report an earthy smell and turbid water.  Based on data collected by students aboard the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom, we anticipated this event right around Halloween.  Check the Floating Classroom Blog for Cayuga temperature profiles!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BJM eggs are hatching!

BJM has had several hatching over the last two days! Kid count between 7 and 34 (Mrs Barley counts 10)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Brown Trout Eggs are In The House!

Trout Unlimited members Josh Filter and Michael Lenetsky made the trip to the Bath, NY State Hatchery to pick up 1000 eggs today!  From Enfield Elementary, we struck out and delivered eggs  to Belle Sherman, BJM, South Hill, Caroline, Fall Creek and Cayuga Heights in the Ithaca District, and Groton and Newfield Middle Schools, as well.

As of Friday, October 19, eggs are beginning to hatch!  Can you spot the newly hatched alevin in this photo from Mrs. Wilkie at South Hills Elementary?  (Click to enlarge.)

Stay tuned for hatching reports... and brook trout egg deliveries are anticipated for the end of October at Lansing, Dryden, Northeast Elementary and the Cayuga Nature Center!

Monday, October 15, 2012


IT'S TIME for a whole new year!  Wow, did that happen fast!

We are very happy to welcome Lansing Elementary and Dryden Middle School this year, under the leadership or Carole Erslev and Patti Jennings, respectively.  All of our participating schools are listed in the right-hand column. 

I also want to extend big thank you's to our continuing sponsors, TRIAD Foundation of Ithaca, NY.    Special mention is also deserved by:

Josh Filter & Michael Lenetsky, Leon Chandler Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Gian Dodici at the US Fish & Wildlife Service's Cortland Office
Ken Osika, at the DEC Bath Hatchery
Ryan Diehl, SUNY Morristown Hatchery 

Many of our schools already have aquariums up and running, and ready for trout eggs.  All will be ready on schedule!

BROWN TROUT egg delivery will happen on Thursday, October 18.
BROOK TROUT egg delivery is anticipated during the first week of November.

Excited to start it all again!!  - Bill Foster

Friday, March 9, 2012

BJM Science Fair!

Alison and Bill had a super time today at the Beverly J. Martin Science Fair! The theme of this year's fair was CHANGE.

Our fifth buddies created trout illustrations and a great poster
charting the change of their BROWN TROUT.
Students from pre-K to 5th used their knowledge of insects and dichotomous keys to learn about insects that spend most of their lives living in our streams. The insects are great food for trout, and tell us the water is clean.
Alison (CU Intern) helps a young scientist identify a specimen.
It's a Stonefly Larva!
After 2 or 3 years, these insects CHANGE- they go through metamorphosis, and emerge from the stream as flying adults! Its all about CHANGE! Thanks to Ellie and Leo, and the staff at BJM for all their work to put this together- see you next year!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trout Live Food Experiment

The second graders at Cayuga Heights completed their first trout experiment today with the help of Trout in the Classroom instructors Bill, Michael, and Josh. (Big thank you to them!) Students had to make a hypothesis about whether or not the trout fry would eat the live food (daphnia) placed in a beaker with each fry.  The students created a hypothesis based on their previous knowledge of the trout and their eating patterns. Then students tested their hypothesis with a group by feeding live daphnia to a trout and counting the number of daphnia eaten (out of about 10) over 5 minutes.

Most students predicted that their trout would instinctively know to eat the daphnia and the majority proved their hypothesis to be correct. One trout must not have been too hungry during the experiment and opted not to eat any daphnia. The majority of the trout ate all the daphnia presented to them during the experiment. Enjoy some photos below!

We also learned an important lesson from our trout this week... never bite off more than you can chew. This little guy didn't survive the week after he indulged on one of his tank-mates.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Color Adaptations in Trout

Our trout are now in their "parr" stage and are developing distinctive colors and patterns. We have been visiting classes with a slide presentation science-inquiry illustration activity to explore these color adaptations. Our Brown Trout, in particular, are able to change colors to blend in with habitat features, and several classes will be setting up experiments over the coming weeks to observe this phenomenon.
Trout are not the only fish that can change color. Flounders, like the one on the right, are masters of this skill.

How do they do it? They use special cells called chromatophores! For a quick intro to fish coloration. You can see chromatophores up-close here. Fascinating stuff!
Fish living in darker locations tend to take on darker colors, but did you know that blind fish turn dark colors, as well? Check out the links in "On-line Resources" if want to know more.