Franklin Tech students study nature in-person on Ashfield Lake

  • Franklin County Technical School student Autumn Harris, 17, pulls in what appears to be a chain pickerel from a tip-up assisted by Mike Bombardier while ice fishing Saturday morning at Ashfield Lake with the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin County Technical School student Jake Whitney, 16, pulls in a largemouth bass from a tip-up while ice fishing Saturday morning at Ashfield Lake with the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin County Technical School Student Adjustment Counselor Mike Bombardier drills a fresh hole in the ice with an auger while ice fishing Saturday morning at Ashfield Lake with the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin County Technical School student Jake Whitney, 16, right, pulls in a largemouth bass from a tip-up assisted by Joe Serrell while ice fishing Saturday morning at Ashfield Lake with the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin County Technical School student Autumn Harris, 17, is photographed after pulling in what appears to be a chain pickerel from a tip-up while ice fishing Saturday morning at Ashfield Lake with the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin County Technical School Student Adjustment Counselor Mike Bombardier releases a largemouth bass while ice fishing Saturday morning at Ashfield Lake with the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin County Technical School chef Benjamin Pike cooks up breakfast in the parking lot for students out ice fishing Saturday morning at Ashfield Lake with the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin County Technical School students participating in the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club visit Ashfield Lake to experience some ice fishing on Saturday morning. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/7/2021 3:29:19 PM

ASHFIELD — About a dozen students from Franklin County Technical School shuffled across the ice on Ashfield Lake Saturday morning, bouncing between the 20 or so holes that had been drilled earlier in the day — checking to see if any fish had taken the bait.

“Finally!” someone exclaimed.

Autumn Harris, 17, picked up her pace as she approached the hole where the quiet commotion had started, hoping to catch a glimpse at the second successful catch of the morning before it was returned to the water.

For the first time this year, the Fins, Feathers and Fur Club at Franklin Tech made it to Ashfield Lake for a morning spent ice fishing.

“We would have gone sooner,” said Franklin Tech Student Adjustment Counselor Mike Bombardier, noting that between COVID-19 and inclement weather, the club had a difficult time scheduling earlier in the winter.

Bombardier and other school officials spoke to the benefit of getting outdoors and engaging with nature, particularly after the last year of learning largely from behind a computer screen.

“You get outside. You learn about nature,” Bombardier said. “You get to socialize with people outside the school setting.”

And, of course, it was a naturally COVID-19-safe activity — students and faculty were outdoors and could easily social distance, he added.

According to the school’s website, the club was established for the purpose of promoting the conservation of fish, game and other natural resources; to practice and teach the highest degree of sportsmanship; and to promote safe and proficient use of sporting equipment.

Bombardier added that the club aims to tie what’s learned out in the field into the curriculum framework. For instance, students will learn about the ecosystems of the environments they’re engaging with.

For Harris, the field trip to Ashfield Lake was a welcome change of pace.

“I’m over the screens,” she said. “I’m sick of remote learning.”

The senior culinary arts student said between ice fishing trips and deep sea fishing trips, she’s appreciated the opportunities the club offers for getting outdoors.

“I enjoy getting outside and exploring nature,” Harris said.

For some students, Saturday’s ice fishing trip was a first.

“Every year, there are a number of students who, for the first time, go out onto the ice and get introduced to the cultural norms of the area,” said Assistant Principal John Carey.

This year, one of those students was Chris Ryan, who said he didn’t know what to expect for his first time ice fishing.

“I like it,” he said. “It’s pretty relaxing.”

And although he’s looking forward to warmer weather — and the chance to play baseball again — he was grateful for the opportunity to step away from the computer screen.

“It’s boring sitting at home,” said the 17-year-old junior. “It’s nice to get outside.”

This spring or early summer, Bombardier said the club plans to visit the Connecticut River and the Long Island Sound.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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