Mid-January we got the news – the package had left Calgary that morning and was going to land in Grande Prairie by late afternoon. Through a network of like-minded people, it got to Fairview that evening. Vivianne was waiting in her car in a darkened parking lot, when a woman approached, handed her the cooler, and advised her to drive straight home to Grimshaw with the contents….. And that’s how over five dozen Rainbow Trout eggs came to our library!
The eggs are provided through the Fish in Schools (FinS) Raise to Release program, and we are one of 88 locations participating in the province this year. Most are schools, as the name suggests, but we knew this was going to be such a valuable opportunity for our public patrons that we worked for the chance to take part. Holy Family School and Grimshaw Public School both provided letters of support for our application. FinS sent out over 5,720 Rainbow Trout eggs in January, and the plan is that we will all have fish to release in approved water bodies by late May or early June. Our trout are destined for the ponds at Wilderness Park.
We can safely say that these are highly supervised fish. There are two Grade Three classes and one Grade 4/5 split class that send students in every day to check and record the water temperature, feed the fish, and they will be helping with water changes and checking pH levels when the time comes. Our Book Buddies and Little Learners programs do their regular checks as well, with modified log books and stamps. Patrons are welcome to stop when they are in and see what is new in the tank. In the month we have had them, the fish have gone through amazing changes in development, from eyed eggs, to alevin with protruding yolk sacs, and are just starting to look like the tiniest version of what we would recognize as a Rainbow Trout.
It is a free program, and FinS does provide the eggs, feed, and supplies needed for testing and conditioning the water. What we needed to provide was a new tank, filter, chiller, and aerator, among other things – and that was well over $1000. Receiving sponsorship from the Grimshaw and District Agricultural Society and the Friends of the Library for this purchase was fantastic. The other good news is that this is an one-time cost, as FinS provides direction to make sure we can clean and use the equipment again next year.
After just a month in the program, we are already learning more about fish development , ATUs (accumulated thermal units), and water conditioning, than we expected. The fish require daily monitoring, and now need water changes twice a week, but luckily we are in the habit of looking after library pets here in Grimshaw.
Grimshaw Municipal Library