This year’s spawning run on January 3rd was quite uneventful, weather-wise. No blizzards to contend with or extreme cold. Also, I had a co-pilot with me this year, board member John Kaplan, to keep me pointed in the right direction and to help me answer the tough questions from the kids. We picked up four batches of 300 eggs from the Seven Pines hatchery in Frederic—three  batches for our programs and one for the Menomonie program that was picked up from us in River Falls. We upped the egg amount from 200 to 300 this year because of high mortality last year for some reason. We were told to expect the eggs to hatch within a week. Indeed, the eggs seemed ready to pop, the kids were delighted to see the embryos moving around within the eggs, which was a new experience.

The Amery Intermediate School, under direction of Jeremiah Fisk, again has their tank set up in a central, common area in the school, so all can share the experience. One of his students came up with the interesting idea of adding mussels from the nearby Apple River to aid in filtering the water. Great idea!

Rocky Branch Elementary in River Falls has followed suit and has the tank set-up in the entryway of the school. Since most of Joe Young’s students went through the program last year, these responsible 5th graders are in total charge of monitoring and tank maintenance. They will also be teaching the rest of the school about TIC, while giving presentations to all the grades.

Greenwood Elementary in River Falls, has a new teacher in charge, Steve Papp. His whole class was very engaged and asked great questions.

Both Hudson and Amery High School are taking a year off.

On schedule, the eggs have hatched, and with very low mortality (maybe we had a “bad” batch last year?). Amery only had five to ten eggs that did not make it!

The kids have been very excited in all the classes and rush in to check on the alevins every morning. They are looking forward to when they have consumed their egg sac and they can begin feeding them. —Greg Olson

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