Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Brand New Year For TIC

As students are home enjoying their holiday breaks, amazing things are happening in schools throughout the City of Martinsville, and the counites of Henry, Franklin, Patrick, and Pittsylvania. Trout eggs are hatching! Each of these tiny opaque eggs (shown above) contains a brown trout. The tiny trout eggs were delivered to the classrooms between Dec 5 – 8 and placed in breeder nets hanging from the side of the tank.
The fertilized eggs were picked up from the State Hatchery at Wytheville in a state of development where the eyes were just beginning to show as dark spots inside the egg. According to Butch Bates, assistant manager at the hatchery, the eggs were expected to hatch in 12 to 14 days. In some tanks, a few little guys were in a hurry to get here and popped out early. Some are still hatching as of this writing. The tiny alevin are totally dependent on their yolk sacs for nourishment the first few weeks of life as they are developing mouth parts.
Sometime in late January they will be ready to be released from the baskets into the tank and then ready for students to give them their first meal. Students will spend spring semster learning about the trout as part of the Trout-in-the-Classroom (TIC) program. TIC is sponsored locally by Dr. David Jones, a Martinsville Orthodotist. Brian Williams of the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA), with support from the Harvest Foundation, is the coordinator for the 26 tanks in a 4 county region this year. Last season over 2,000 area youth were served by the program. This year that number is expected to increase. Over the next few months, the students will learn many lessons from these small creatures. After being raised to fingerling size, the students will release them into the Smith River at the end of the school year. Check back soon to see more progress!

Photo by: Brian Williams
Article by: Jennifer Doss & Brian Williams

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