JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — On Monday, May 17, a group of Sullivan West fifth-grade elementary school students released an estimated 400 brown trout fingerlings into the waters of the North Branch of …
JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — On Monday, May 17, a group of Sullivan West fifth-grade elementary school students released an estimated 400 brown trout fingerlings into the waters of the North Branch of Callicoon Creek. It flows through a community park created by Jim Hughson in memory of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Lauren, who joined the angels on January 2, 2002.
The event was part of Trout Unlimited’s nationwide program titled Trout in the Classroom (TIC) and was presented locally in partnership with the Upper Delaware Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the First National Bank of Jeffersonville.
Groups of fifth- and sixth-graders participate in the TIC project, now in its 14th season at the Sullivan West Elementary School. During the school year, they raise brown trout from eggs before releasing the tiny fingerlings into the clear, cold waters of Callicoon Creek as spring moves into the summer.
According to a press release issued by Trout Unlimited, “This act of raising, monitoring and caring for young trout fosters a conservation ethic... and promotes an understanding of shared water resources.”
The TIC project started in Canada with salmon in the 1970s. As of 2017, a reported 5,100 schools in 33 states across the United States participate in TIC.
In 1997, TIC was started in the Empire State through the efforts of the late Joan Stoliar, Trout Unlimited volunteers and the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers.
Pamela Reinhardt, a representative of Trout Unlimited’s Upper Delaware Chapter, noted that the trout eggs are supplied to the school by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation fish hatchery near Livingston Manor, NY.
“By mid-May, the fingerlings are ready to be released into the water,” she said, adding that the TIC project is an
educational undertaking, not a stocking program.
“The teachers use this program not only in science class... developed programs for math, art, English and music,” said Reinhardt.
In a fitting tribute to Lauren Hughson and a new generation of kids learning first-hand about conservation and the importance of environmental preservation, a majestic bald eagle flew upstream above the creek’s meandering waters as the event drew to a close.