Did you know we are raising Brook Trout? It is through a program called Trout In the Classroom (TIC). The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has a Resource Interpretive Specialist who oversees the project and coordinated the release of the trout with the State. As of last year, there were 112 classrooms that were participating in the program and we were the first preschool to do so. On October 26, 2011 two volunteers from New Jersey’s Trout Unlimited arrived at the school with a bag of what looked like tiny yellow beads. These beads turned out to be what the children would learn to be trout eggs. These eggs are from the Pequest Hatchery in Oxford, New Jersey. When the eggs were delivered, we needed to observe the eggs and remove any bad eggs from the batch. The children quickly learned that the white colored eggs were bad and needed to be removed. The eggs that had two black spots were good because the black spots were the trout’s eyes. The eggs then hatched about a week after they arrived. Most of the trout stayed at the bottom of the basket because they still had their yolk sack attached. These are called sac-fry or alevins. Once they absorbed the sac they were more active and were then fed food. Every day the children would walk by the tank looking at the fish and touching the tank. As some of them would touch the tank and they would say “It’s cold!” The temperature of the water is kept at a steady 51-52 degrees. This temperature helps them grow. As the trout grew they became more active and some even escaped the basket that they were hatched in. At this stage they are called fry. Once, the fry were released into the tank, they had more room to swim. Over the past few weeks the fry (trout) have grown. The children commented “that they have stripes” and “they are getting so big because they are eating a lot.” Here are some of the children’s observations:
“The fish swim up to the food.”
“They are grey and green and had a stripe pattern”
“They got tails. They got fins.”
We are halfway through the project, all the children can see them on a daily basis, and there are 5 classrooms that are involved in the care of them. This blog will be updated weekly or as these classes’ visit and notice changes. Check back often for more pictures as our trout grow.