For the past 10 years, the Madison FFA has used a refurbished milk tank as an aquarium for over one hundred baby brown trout.
Each year in March, the Rome Fish Hatchery delivers these young brown trout to Madison's Ag shop. This is just a temporary home for these native species, until they are big enough to be released into the Chenango Canal. For about 8 to 10 weeks, FFA members feed the trout and make sure the temporary habitat is suitable for optimal health and growth.
In April, members will transport the trout to the Chenango Canal in Bouckville. Restocking the Chenango Canal with these renewable animals helps ensure that this native species will continue to thrive in our area.
Funding for this project was provided by a donation from Paul and Mary DeLand in memory of their son, Justin. Other members of the community also donated equipment needed to make the project successful.
By participating in this project, students gain a better understanding and appreciation of their historical entities of the Central New York area. The Chenango Canal is a huge part of history in this area. It was important for transportation of goods from the big city to the developing areas that are now historical landmarks.
The members also get to hand-raise brown trout, learn the techniques for feeding, checking for disease and proper transportation and release techniques needed to insure the viability of the trout.
Zachary Taylor is Madison FFA senior reporter.