Third-grade stewards of the Chimacum Creek release their salmon, raised from eggs in class

Posted 5/11/22

Chimacum’s third-graders waved goodbye to their salmon charge at the banks of the Chimacum Creek in HJ Carroll Park.

Students raised their fish from eggs in the halls of the elementary …

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Third-grade stewards of the Chimacum Creek release their salmon, raised from eggs in class

Posted

Chimacum’s third-graders waved goodbye to their salmon charge at the banks of the Chimacum Creek in HJ Carroll Park.

Students raised their fish from eggs in the halls of the elementary school, learning about the life of salmon and the importance in revitalizing the Creek’s population.

Teachers Shari Glessing and Michelle Moseley and Chimacum Elementary School Principal Jason Lynch were all smiles as they chaperoned the release and experiential learning on April 28.

“I hope they have an intimate connection with the place that they live and they know something about it and they’re interested in it ...  I think just having a little passion and being excited to come to school,” Lynch said.

“This is what makes learning stick,” Lynch added, explaining that the kids were thrilled to have a kinesthetic experience after months of virtual learning.

The project is in partnership with North Olympic Salmon Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to salmon habitat restoration.

Efforts were turned toward the Chimacum Creek after a storm in the early 1990s during peak egg-laying —  a critical time for salmon —  washed away a culvert and buried spawning grounds, nearly depleting the already declining population.

The coalition’s predecessor, Wild Olympic Salmon, got moving by educating the community on salmon and creating a hatchery above the Chimacum watershed.

The fish were raised near the waters they would soon enter so they could become acquainted with the creek’s unique scent, in hopes they might find their way back after their time at sea.

The coalition saw 38 summer chum return to the Chimacum Creek after the initial release. Now, volunteers wade the creek and count each nutritious, silver salmon that has returned. They’ve counted more than 3,000 since 1999.

The students were eager to see their fish head off on their own after learning the importance of the salmon population in Chimacum Creek.

Some expressed sadness of course, but it was a cheerful day as everyone stretched their legs and saw firsthand the results of their efforts.

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  • jconley

    This is a great program and project that connects students with the environment in their own backyard, while benefitting all of us who value the salmon. Kudos to the North Olympic Salmon Coalition for taking on big projects like the new bridge between Indian and Marrowstone Islands, as well as community-based projects like this. The Salmon Coalition does amazing work, and we are fortunate to have them here. Thanks also to the students. I hope that their released salmon will return in abundance, a few years hence.

    John Conley

    Thursday, May 12 Report this