I was attempting to provide FVTU chapter members an update on the planting of the trout that were raised in the Chilton High School and Middle School classrooms when I received a copy of an email from Trout Unlimited life member Howard Bowman. I stopped composing and share with you excerpts from the email.
– Joe Bach
Today, it was my turn to be a very, very proud parent and to observe something totally wonderful. As you all know, Brad wrote a successful “Trout in the Classroom” Grant resulting in the Chilton Middle School 6th grade and some of the HS science students raising almost 200 trout to a viable size for release. Raising these trout in the classroom involved learning about water temperature, Ph., oxygen levels, et. With guidance, the students did all of this losing only very few of the trout in the process. A stream with constant temperature and good flow was located through Brad’s relationship with a sixth grade student whose family farm contains a portion of Stony Creek.
The Trout were ready. And so was Brad. The orchestration was amazing: Trout Unlimited Reps., Calumet County Reps, the property owner, the DNR, Chilton Teachers, school bus drivers, etc. For the Middle School, the morning provided five learning stations—stream quality measurements, insect survey, fish survey via electro-shocking, invasive species education, etc.
And, all this time there were 84 six graders completely engaged.
Then came the release. Who ever said kids are bored or cynical if they are skillfully organized and engaged. Brad had coached two students who gave brief speeches about their experience and hopes for the trout. Then (my role was in helping dip out the trout from the aquarium at the school and then, with Brad, rising them to the stream site in buckets—what fun!), each student was given a plastic cup with a trout in it to release, so all were able to participate. I don’t think these students will soon forget all the lessons of this day—I certainly will not!
Watching these kids REVERENTLY carrying their trout to the stream was—and this is a technical spiritual term—AWESOME. None were tossed carelessly. Most of the students had something to say to their fish as it was being released like “have a good life.” (The word “awesome” is almost completely misused and overused today, but if you look it up in a dictionary of religious terms, you will find that the root has to do with being awed by something greater than ourselves.)
This is an understatement: WELL DONE, BRAD!