Call for Volunteers – Trout in the Classroom (TIC) Releases
This is a call for volunteers to help the 26 Montgomery and Howard County schools release into local streams the trout raised in classroom tanks since January. Montgomery and Howard releases will start in late April and continue through mid-June.
TIC Purpose and History
Most of you know that TIC is one of MAC’s more successful programs. By raising trout from eggs in pre-college classrooms TIC teaches youngsters the importance of clean cold water to trout survival. Through its activities, TIC paves the way for the next generation of recreational anglers and environmental stewards on whom the future of our waters and trout fishing depend.
From three Montgomery County elementary schools, Maryland TIC now has spread to 62 elementary, middle and high schools across the state and gets its financial support from the Mid-Atlantic Council of TU. Moreover, it’s one of the largest TIC programs in the country managed and coordinated entirely by unpaid volunteers. It’s also a successful example of government and non-profit collaboration. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides fertilized Kamloops rainbow trout eggs and necessary permits to raise and release the trout, while TIC provides oversight and technical support to the program.
Releasing The Trout
The release program is one of if not the most important events of the TIC year. It validates students’ success in maintaining a healthy environment for trout growth and is the final stage in the linkage between student caregivers, their fingerlings and their local watershed. It celebrates students’ time and effort in raising the fish and enables them to make connections between classroom conditions and what they observe taking place in the natural world around them. It’s a treatment for what Richard Louv, the noted environmentalist, calls Nature Deficit Disorder.
And for volunteers it’s always an enjoyable event because the students are so involved, excited and committed to giving their trout a good send-off into the wild.
TU volunteers always have an important part to play in release programs. Their main roles are:
1. transport fingerlings from the school to the release site (TIC can provide coolers and portable aerators to keep the fingerlings oxygenated in transit)
2. demonstrate fly-tying (a table and chair can be available on-site)
3. familiarize students with fly-casting through demonstrations and
elementary lessons (student fly rods and reels can be made
Volunteers also can help with stream surveys of macroinvertibrates (kick seines, magnifying insect viewers and identification cards can be made available) and other aspects of release programs.
The release site for Montgomery County schools is Little Seneca Creek at The Lodge at Boyds, on Clopper Road (Route 117), a ten-minute drive from Exit 10 off I-270. The main release site for Howard County schools is the Middle Patuxent River at the end of Eden Brook in Columbia. Some schools have arranged their releases at the riverside park just below Brighton Dam. A number of schools also have teamed up for joint releases.
Release dates and schools so far confirmed are:
Wednesday, April 24 – Oakland Mills Middle School
Wednesday, May 1 – West Friendship/Swansfield elementary joint release
Thursday, May 16 – Burleigh Manor Middle School
Wednesday, May 22 - Hammond Elementary
Friday, May 24 – Murray Hill Middle School (4 PM)
Thursday, April 25- Westbrook Elementary School (0900 on)
Friday, April 26–Tilden Middle School
Thursday, May 2 – Holy Cross (0815-noon)
Tuesday, May 7 – Sligo/Wood Middle schools
Tuesday, May 14 - M.L.King Jr Middle School (probably AM)
Tuesday, May 21 – Benjamin Banneker Middle School (9:30 AM-1:30 PM)
Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29 – Briggs Chaney Middle School – Patuxent below Brighton Dam
Thursday, May 30 – Gaithersburg/Cabin John Middle Schools (9:30 AM-1
Friday, May 31 – Westland Middle/Sherwood High School/Sandy Spring
Wednesday, June 12 – North Chevy Chase Elementary School (10 AM-noon)
If you can make time available to help with any of these releases, you’ll find it both stimulating and enjoyable. The most your participation will require is a half day, and a number of employers now have charitable service programs which give employees time off to volunteer for non-profit organizations such as Trout Unlimited.
To sign up or for further information about Howard or Montgomery County TIC releases, please get in touch with Jim Greene at
301-652-3848 or firstname.lastname@example.org and with Jim Robinson at 240-396-3922 or email@example.com concerning Howard County releases.