Rainbow trout gets a new home
Ainsley Boice of Island Park is a self-proclaimed “outdoor enthusiast,” and particularly excited about a special two-year-old Rainbow trout named Chubs.
Chubs hatched from an egg in Boice’s fifth grade class as part of her Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program at Ashton Elementary.
TIC is an environmental education program wherein students K-12 raise trout from eggs to fry, monitor tank water quality, study stream habitat and grow to understand the ecosystem.
Matt Lyon was Boice’s fifth grade teacher when she went through the program and helped raise Chubs.
“Most programs end the year by releasing their trout in a state-approved stream near the school or within a nearby watershed,” Lyon said.
Boice had other plans for Chubs. Now a seventh grader at North Fremont Middle School, she has made it possible for Chubs and a similarly sized Yellowstone cutthroat trout to share a tank in the front office at her school.
“It’s always been my dream to have a chance for the public to see the trout up close, so I decided to find a way to make it happen,” she said.
On Thursday, Boice, accompanied by Lyon, and former conservation education biologist of the Henry’s Fork Foundation Anne Marie Emery, Chubs and his yet-to-be-named companion were transferred to their custom made tank with chilled water and rocks from the Henry’s Fork to ensure their maximum comfort.
Boice read a brief statement about what led her on her journey to bring the two fish to her school for public view.
“The water of the Henry’s Fork tells a story differently to each of us, whether we fish it, float it, look at it, listen to it or use it to water the fields.
“The river doesn’t discriminate. It treats us all the same. Sometimes rough and fast, harsh in action to challenge our skills, other days slow and smooth, allowing us to melt away with the flow of the water and give us a chance to see the hidden treasures that lie beneath its surface.
“Having the aquarium as a new addition to North Fremont Middle School and High School will help us remember that the Henry’s Fork is alive.
“It provides nourishment for us as well as the fish, the insects and all of the plants. My hope is to educate our community on the importance of caring for and protecting the waters that bring us this joy.
“I would like to give a huge thanks to Anne Marie Emery for understanding our needs in education and leading the drive for the aquarium. Without donations from the Henry’s Fork Foundation and the Voight Foundation the aquarium would not have been possible. Lastly, a big thanks to Mr. Dhale and Mr. Lyon for facilitating the construction,” Boice said.
She watched the trout as they began to acclimate to their new surroundings.
Boice has been fly fishing since she was 11 with summer-dwelling Island Park residents Rob and Pam Pannier.
Boice’s mother, Amber Boice, said her daughter is the fly fishing member of the family.
“We like to hunt and do other activities, but Ainsley got into fishing by herself,” Amber said. “We’re so proud of her. She’s a great kid.”
Ainsley said she would like to study marine biology when she graduates high school, and fish are her favorite animals.
She wants to eventually learn how to tie her own flies and continue to improve upon her fly fishing skills.
Lyon is excited for the future of his innovative TIC student, and thankful for what she brings to the community.
“It’s so rewarding to see Ainsley carry forward with the interest she has for conservation, recreation and our local watershed. I am so proud of her progress, and she is teaching us all valuable lessons about how passion can bring resources together and make things happen in life,” he said.