Frank Rizzo | Democrat
One of the favorite parts of the day was sending trout, grown in the classroom, into the natural habitat of the running water. Here, two students release their trout.
Story by Frank Rizzo
JEFFERSONVILLE May 14, 2013 Ninety-six fifth grade students at Sullivan West Elementary School took part in the fifth annual Trout Release Day this past Friday.
The district’s Trout in the Classroom program is sponsored by the Upper Delaware Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Jeff Bank. The five trout tanks were maintained by the classrooms of Chris Hawkins, Dawn Sedlack, SueLing Ruiz, Sue Mullally and Kelly Erlwein.
Jim Hughson once again let the district make use of the stretch of property bordered by Route 52 and the Callicoon Creek, and maintained in memory of his beloved daughter Lauren.
Trout Unlimited volunteers coordinated by Val and Pam Reinhardt have worked closely with the classes, from donating the eggs in the fall to providing invaluable advice as the students made careful observations over the course of the school year.
On Friday, the TU volunteers continued their service by offering a number of demonstrations (see sidebar).
The National Park Service was also on hand, hosting stations featuring an enviroscape table and birds of prey.
Students tested the creek’s pH and took the water temperature.
The events of the day brought out the kids everywhere. Septuagenarian Jack Costello triumphantly raised his arms after releasing his brown trout, while TU chapter President Andy Boyar snapped away.
Jack’s wife Doris recorded the moment for posterity. The Jeffersonville couple was there to watch grandson Zachary.
“I’m still in fifth grade… I got left behind a lot,” Jack quipped.
Also enjoying her first trout day was Sullivan West Superintendent Dr. Nancy Hackett.
“It was very exciting to release the trout,” Hackett exclaimed as she watched over the proceedings, her camera on hand.
Hackett grew up near the Niagara River in Tonawanda, where her father, Frank Maess, 91, taught her and her siblings to fish. His lessons have now included grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But however experienced in fishing she might be, Hackett was intrigued by her participation in the fly casting demonstration.
“It’s very different. Different motions, a different way of doing it,” Hackett said. “I definitely feel I’m going to learn this skill.”
Students were treated to a picnic lunch with live entertainment sponsored by Jeff Bank. Once again on hand was environmental musician Ira McIntosh of Andes, who provided musical accompaniment and story telling with his program called “Twist and Trout.”
Trout Unlimited Volunteers
Fly Casting: Val Reinhardt, Frank Salt, Shaun Sensiba, Andy Boyar and Patty Mac Murray.
Fly Tying: Karol Sundholm and Dave Mac Murray.
Entomology: Clem Fullerton, Tom Brown and Barb Fullerton.
Wood Carver: Lew Trowbridge.
Release Table: Pat Salt aided the students in compiling the stream quality info.