Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Stream of Life- Trout Help to Make Environmental Connections

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” - John Muir

Lillie Genovesi, TIC Coordinator (seated) is surrounded by students (L to R): Jamie Gould, Rachael Closs, Rita Altobello, Mike Sherburne, Marisa Romano, and Melissa Finch with Tammy Phoenix, TIC Instructor (far right).
 Over 5 years ago the Trout in the Classroom (TIC) project was brought to The Arc of Delaware County from a lucky convergence of events. Steve Finkel, an employee of The Arc and an avid fly fisherman became aware of the TIC program through his membership with Trout Unlimited. He was also aware of a grant opportunity offered by the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) and thought the TIC program would be a great match for people at The Arc since it incorporates learning about the environment, water quality, biology, science and a host of other related topics in a fun and productive way, by raising and releasing trout into local streams.

 The CWC grant helped to purchase the equipment needed to raise trout from eggs to young fingerlings and enabled the program to be offered at several of The Arc’s day program sites.  Those who choose to participate in the 8 month TIC program are responsible for monitoring and adjusting water quality and temperature, cleaning the tank, feeding, and finally releasing the trout.  Along the way they learn much about the importance of the environment and understand how it impacts life around us. 

 In March, Lilli Genovesi, TIC Coordinator for NYC and Watershed areas, visited the TIC program at The Arc’s Resources For Industry program (RFI) in Walton.  She viewed the tank and admired the thriving fish while the students told her what the class was learning from the project.  Lilli brought many teaching tools with her including a watershed model that demonstrated how water flowed into a reservoir. “Trout are very good indicators of how safe water is for us to drink. They are very sensitive to the environment,” she said. She also taught the class about the anatomy of a trout and showed them some of the many bugs that the trout eat while swimming in our waterways. She shared, “My favorite memories with TIC are linked to bringing students outdoors to the trout release sites. So many students today are disconnected from nature, seeing them out of their classrooms and interacting with nature makes my heart smile.”

Tammy Phoenix, RFI’s TIC program instructor has six students in this year’s class including Rita Altobello, Mike Sherburne, Marisa Romano, Rachael Closs, Jamie Gould, and Melissa Finch. They are taking the class because want to learn more about fish, the environment, and they like to fish too.

After Lilli’s visit Tammy shared, “I think Lilli’s visit was a great success. My class said it was well worth it.” Rita said, “I wish Lilli could have spent more time here so I could have shown her some of the things I do.” Melissa  added ,”When can she come back, I had fun!”

A sentiment expressed by Lilli summed up the satisfaction felt by all participating in the TIC program, “After raising their trout in the classroom for 8 months, that moment when the students bring their trout to the bank of the stream, lower their cups gently into the water and watch the trout swim out into the river (which also supplies our drinking water) is a very powerful moment. This experience truly connects students to nature and I am sure many students will cherish these memories throughout their lives. “To view photos from Lilli’s visit and learn more about the TIC program at RFI visit our Flickr and YouTube sites at To learn more about Trout in the Classroom program visit: .

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Proven Method to Reduce Challenging Behaviors In Any Environment

Exciting news! The Arc of Delaware County was on the front page of ‘the nation's leading evidence-based publication for the autism community', Autism Spectrum News. With a readership of over 100,000 people, and a potentially larger audience as we celebrate National Autism Awareness Month, this is a great opportunity to share the message of our proactive philosophy and positive approach to helping people with disabilities. Click to view the online version of the story: