“Salmon in the Schools” is a Seattle-based program that promotes environmental stewardship among students by allowing around 70 schools to participate annually in raising young salmon and learning about how human actions impact local waterways.The program is especially significant to the Pacific Northwest, where salmon are vital to the region's history, culture, and economy. Not only are they an important source of food for both humans and orcas, but they also serve as an indicator of waterway health.
In January, our SAGA students received about 300 salmon eggs that they watched grow through multiple parts of their life cycle. During this time, they learned about the habitat needs of salmon, including water testing, feeding, and cleaning the tank. After several months of hard work, the students were able to release the salmon into Carkeek Park last Friday. Every student in second through fifth grade had the opportunity to release one to three salmon, and after counting all of them, we realized we had raised and released 258 salmon.
This was SAGA's first year participating in “Salmon in the Schools”, and we are really grateful to Sarah Lill and Angrid Henning for making this experience possible. Throughout the project, we saw how independent, self-confident, and responsible the students became with their tasks, which was a highlight for everyone. The entire process of watching the eggs develop into fry (the third stage of the salmon life cycle and technical term for small salmon) was also a significant moment in SAGA's salmon journey. Our students especially enjoyed the moment when the eggs turned into alevin, the daily feeding process and the release in the Carkeek Park.
SAGA’s vision is to inspire students to become passionate learners and engaged global citizens. To be responsible members of our global community, children must also develop a respect for the natural world. Participation in this program helped bring aspects of the natural world into classroom-based curriculum and discussion. We are excited about the opportunity to participate in this educational activity again next year and hope to continue promoting environmental stewardship among our students. “Salmon in the Schools” is an excellent example of how hands-on learning experiences can inspire a love for the environment and encourage young people to become active participants in the conservation of our natural resources.