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Trout in the Classroom (TIC) in New York City and the New York City Watersheds started through the efforts of the late Joan Stoliar, TU volunteers and the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers in 1997. TU and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) partnered together to hire a full time TIC Coordinator in 2004. The Coordinator organizes three teacher conferences per year, handles TIC permits and licenses and educates students in New York City, the East of Hudson and the West of Hudson Watersheds about the importance of protecting the watershed streams that they share.
TIC serves an extremely important role in the Southern New York area where Brook Trout, the state fish, are a culturally significant species. In the Catskill Mountains, early American anglers, such as Theodore Gordon first began using fly tackle to fish the wild trout-rich streams. The Catskills Mountains streams, still rich with trout, are also an important source for New York City’s Drinking water. New York City is especially unique because over 8 million residents use and drink water from the unfiltered Catskill, Delaware and Croton Watersheds.
The filtration avoidance allows New York City residents to enjoy abundant, clean, and great tasting water, without having to build and maintain high energy consuming facilities. By preserving natural environments, careful regulation and through education, the New York City DEP and partnering organizations hope to continue providing city residents with quality drinking water from unfiltered streams and reservoirs. By allowing students to raise and release trout into the watershed streams, TIC helps these students understand where their water comes from, the unique structure of the New York City water supply system and the impact they can have on this important resource.
As an indicator species, trout are used to monitor water quality. Students raising trout learn about their fragile nature and important role in a stream ecosystem. Having live animals often engages students in the classroom and the trout release trip motivates students to carefully monitor the trout tank water quality. Trout also serve as a platform for multidisciplinary studies. Many students connect to the trout and their concern for the trout’s ability to survive in the wild after they are released often servers as a platform for environmental stewardship.
The majority of the Trout Release Field Days for New York City students takes place in the Croton Watershed at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River during the months of April and May. Over 1,500 students attend the field days to release trout, study stream biology and geology, and explore nature while hiking through the riparian watershed forests. Trout release field day volunteers include environmental educators and TU volunteers from the community. New volunteers are always welcome.
To learn more about TIC in New York City and the New York City Watersheds, sponsor a TIC school, get a school involved, or volunteer at our next Trout Release Field Day contact Lilli Genovesi. This program is possible through a diverse network of support and partnerships.
Headwaters Youth Education Program Coordinator
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