Brook trout released into local streams by students

Three local schools are involved with raising and releasing brook trout here in the Berkshires.   They originally started out raising Atlantic Salmon in the ASERP (Atlantic Salmon Egg Rearing Program, but, the Connecticut River Salmon Restoration program ended two years ago.  Both the US Fish & Wildlife Service and wildlife agencies of MA, VT and NH will no longer support it.   The schools then started raising brook trout from eggs that came from the Roger Reed Salmon Hatchery in Palmer, Ma.    Students actively take part monitoring water quality on a daily basis and assisting in the trout’s husbandry needs.  By the time they were released in May or early June, they are nearly 2 inches long.

At the Becket-Washington School, the 3rd and 4th graders participated in the program.  Over 100 brook trout were raised from eggs and the survival rate was great with only 4 dying while in the aquarium.  They were released on June 3 at the outdoor classroom along Yokum Brook in Becket.  Teachers Mary Kay McCloskey and Patty Robbie headed up the program there with assistance from Karen Karlberg.

Approximately 75 Taconic High School students participated, releasing their trout into Windsor Brook in Windsor on May 27.   They had some equipment problems but still managed a 60% success ratio.  One student came into school over break to care for the fish to ensure they were properly fed and their water quality was on par.  Teachers who participated were Tanya Michaud, Michell Potash and Ron Wojcik.  According to Michaud, this is their second year rearing brook trout in the classroom and their release site shows evidence that the fish are healthy and thriving.  There were 3 fish that were about a year old swimming in an eddy and it is suspected that they are from their cohort of trout released last year around the same time

At Mt Everett Regional High School in Sheffield, some 140 students were involved and had a 100% survival.  They not only raise and release fingerlings, but some trout are retained for the Aquacultural Class where they grow them larger and release them at the 8 to 12 inch size (for better survival) into the Konkapot River and Umpachini Falls.  Teachers involved there are Steve Antil, Tim Schwartz, Daniel Weston and Asha Von Rudin.  Von Rudin heads up the Aquaculture program where they really get into water ecology monitoring, macro-invertibrate studies, etc.   *****

Don’t you know, it always happens, lots of neat things going on all on the same day.

On Saturday, June 27, from 9 AM to noon, Steve McMahon, President of the Hoosic River Watershed Association (HOORWA) invites you to join fly fisherman Chris Jackson for a fly fishing demonstration on the Hoosic River at Cole Field in Williamstown, MA. It’s an opportunity to witness and learn the basic techniques of casting a fly into moving water and see what happens next.   Jackson, a respected angler, will demonstrate the importance of softly delivering a fly on the surface of the water.  Wear old sneakers in order to wade in and bring a fly rod if you own one.   If you plan to attend, meet at the soccer gate at Cole Field by 9 AM.  Contact the leader Elayne Murphy at 413-458-2947 or at emurphy@williams.edu for details and preregistration. The rain date will be June 28.

On the same day, from 10 AM to 2 PM, the Trustees of Reservation invites you to a free workshop entitled Dragonflies Above And Below The Water.  Join Entomologist Dr. Kirsten Martin as she explores Glendale Falls Brook on Clark Wright Road in nearby Middlefield, MA, marveling at the exquisite world of dragon and damselflies.  Flyfishermen know only too well that trout relish dragonfly and damselfly nymphs.   To register call Project Coordinator Meredyth Babcock at 623-2070 or volunteer@wildscenicwestfieldriver.org.

By the way, have you ever visited Glendale Falls?   It is truly a special place.   Fed by more than five square miles of watershed, wild and rocky Glendale Falls is one of the longest and most powerful waterfall runs in Massachusetts.  In spring, the waters of Glendale Brook roar over steep rock ledges to join the Middle Branch of the Westfield River, a federally designated Wild and Scenic River.

Also on the same day, June 27, Tom Wessels, ecologist and Professor Emeritus at Antioch University New England will have a special workshop at the Bidwell House Museum in Monterey, MA.  From 10:00 – 11:30 AM – Talk and Slideshow, 11:30 – 12:30 PM – Lunch and Discussion and 12:30 – 2:30 PM – Explore the Bidwell House Forest with Tom Wessels

Based on Tom’s book, Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England, this workshop introduces approaches used to interpret a forest’s history.  Using evidence such as the shapes of trees, scars on their trunks, the pattern of decay in stumps, the construction of stone walls, and the lay of the land, it is possible to unravel complex stories etched into our forested landscape.  This process could easily be called forest forensics, since it is quite similar to interpreting a crime scene.

Participants will gain a better understanding of cultural and natural disturbances on the land in general, specifically the 192 acre Bidwell House property, and how they have shaped our use and enjoyment of our woods and fields; learn methods and skills to identify and understand these cultural and natural historical events in order to apply this knowledge to your own land or on any walk in the woods.

Tom also wrote The Granite Landscape, Untamed Vermont, The Myth of Progress, and Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape. He has conducted landscape ecology and sustainability workshops throughout the country for over 30 years. Click onto http://bidwellhousemuseum.org/ for more information.

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