Salmon Days

By Jenna Richter | April 20, 2016 | Science, Sustainablility

Today we went on a field trip to Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group site at Diamond H Ranch.  They had us work in small groups at five stations, habitat, water quality, salmon migration, tree planting and salmon life cycle.

Our group started at the Habitat Station.  We first discussed the differences between the two habitats: pond and stream.  Next, we looked through water out of each source for macro-organisms.

 

Louie and Hanni looking at tadpoles, snails, and damsel fly larva from the pond water.
Louie and Hanni looking at tadpoles, snails, and damsel fly larva from the pond water.

 

Sadie, Finn and Audrey started with the stream water.  They didn’t have to look very long before they saw some big crawdads.

 

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Next Finn and Sadie drew the creatures that they saw.
Next Finn and Audrey drew the creatures that they saw.

 

After learning about what factors determine the water quality of salmon habitats and learning how erosion and shade play a part, we moved onto to an active station.  In the migration station, students used different scents to help find the way back home.  Our river smelled like mint.  Students followed flags and smelled different containers of scent to see how to make their way to their spawning destination.

 

Harlow, Sadie and Louie determining where they should head next on their journey to spawn.
Harlow, Audrey  and Louie determining where they should head next on their journey to spawn.

 

The tree planting station was next.  Our students were instructed on how to pot a Douglas Fir tree.  Luckily, we have a group of soil and planting savvy kids.  These trees will be taken to conservation areas to help with erosion and shade.

 

We filled the pots halfway, twisted the roots and then added and packed soil.
We filled the pots halfway, twisted the roots and then added and packed soil.

 

 

Our final station was the salmon life cycle.  Students began as eggs then had to make their way through a jump rope turbine, around the ocean three times while avoiding a volunteer with his foot in a bucket acting as a predator and  fisherman on the shore that were pelting the salmon with tennis balls.  If the salmon got hit by jump rope, tagged by the bucket-footed predator or hit with a tennis ball they had to go back to being an egg.  If they made it, they could turn into fisherman.

 

Harlow and Finn graduated to fisherman.
Harlow and Finn graduated to fisherman.

 

We hope to continue our learning with a trip to the hatchery in Cle Elum.

 

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