Trout in the Classroom (TIC) originated because teachers wanted to incorporate more hands-on environmental education experiences into their curriculum. The overarching goals of the program are to educate children on the importance of cold-water conservation and to reconnect the next generation of kids with their environment.
The Rapidan Chapter TIC program helps students raise trout from the egg stage to fry over a period of 6-7 months. It is a cooperative effort of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and Trout Unlimited.
To begin with, DWR raises the trout and harvests the eggs for this program at their Paint Bank hatchery. I have attached a link to a short video from our fisheries folks that covers egg production and the early stages of the feeding and care. These are the actual people we work with for TIC. Mr. Beers runs the hatchery in Paint Bank.
Enjoy the video…….
DWR provides trout eggs, food, and the regulatory framework that allows teachers to raise wildlife (trout) in the classroom and release them into the wild. Trout Unlimited volunteers from our chapter work with teachers to manage the program which includes purchasing and setting up equipment, obtaining the eggs from DWR, providing expertise on raising trout and troubleshooting issues, and assisting with the release of fish.
The Rapidan Chapter is one of the largest supporters of TIC program in Virginia.
Our chapter supports.
One of the most complex steps in this TIC process is the egg delivery to the 30 schools we support. On the morning of the egg delivery, Mr. Hallacher from DWR makes a 4 hour round trip drive to Paint Bank Hatchery to pick up our eggs and bring the back to Verona, VA. A few of us in the Rapidan Chapter then make a 4 hour round trip to Verona to brings eggs to Warrenton.
That evening, we split the big packet of trout eggs into delivery size packets for each school.
The next morning, a core group of Rapidan Chapter volunteers meet at Chuck Hoysa’s house to pick up their eggs for delivery and make their way to multiple schools across the counties.
The following people were instrumental in delivering eggs to the schools this year…Chuck Hoysa, Alan Edmunds, Red Bourdage, Marcia Wolman, Joe Cicatello, Bryan Hofmann and Friends of the Rappahannock.
In 2022, over 600 students participated in the program, releasing around 1,533 fish into local waterways. These areas included the Rush River near Washington and the Rose River near Syria, Virginia.
Our next big event coming up in the spring of 2024 is Release Day!
On release day, students spend time outside seeing where trout live and interacting with the water. This year our chapter will try to work with the teachers to include fun activities on release day including Macro invertebrate collection and identification, fly casting demos and fly-tying demonstrations. It is a great time for our group to interact with the kids.
So, please stay tuned for target release dates and volunteer to help!