Spotted: A 75 pound, five foot trout!
Last month we shared this Facebook photo of this lovely mosaic trout living outside the PA Fish and Boat Commission's Headquarters in Harrisburg. Wouldn't you know, folks wanted to know more about the piece! Thanks to some serious archival digging by PAFBC grounds staff we learned how, "Native Brookie" by artist Jennifer Franz found its unlikely way to the banks of the Susquehanna.
The story starts not at the Susquehanna River, or even in the Susquehanna watershed, but in the neighboring Delaware watershed. In 2008 the Pocono Creek's healthy, cold-water trout habitat was being threatened by water quality degradation associated with development. Local watershed organizations and partners decided to undertake a study to complete a management plan that would balance future growth with natural resource protection.
The Brodhead Watershed Association became a partner and was specifically tasked with raising awareness and education about the special trout habitat and future management plan.
Much like the painted cows, horses, and even pigs seen as public art installations scattered about different cities, the Association came up with Trout Trails & Tales program to meld art and science. Fifteen trout sculptures were decorated by artists, groups, and youth to raise awareness about the relationships among land use, stream flows, healthy trout populations, and people.
The sculptures were displayed throughout the county and traveled to Stroudsburg where they were auctioned to benefit the watershed association and local arts council. A representative from PA Fish and Boat Commission fell for the mosaic fish, hook, line, and sinker and purchased the sculpture.
"Native Brookie" was THE most popular of our trout and certainly a favorite of mine," said Theresa Merli, Executive Director of the Brodhead Watershed Association. You can visit "Native Brookie" at the entrance to the PA Fish and Boat Commission Headquarters at 1601 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg. Don't forget to stop inside to purchase your fishing license and pick up an array of maps, pamphlets and other free goodies in the lobby.
Explore the Trout Trail to see all the sculptures and learn about this important species!
Learn more about the program from the Broadhead Watershed Association.