The Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre has been hosting their annual Salmon in the Classroom in schools across the North Island.
Designed as a program deliverable through the DFO Stream to Sea project, it aims at educating children about the salmon life cycle and their place in both fresh and saltwater ecosystems.
The program also encourages children to become active stewards for the environment and how human impacts can affect salmonid populations. This year, 180 students from kindergarten to grade seven participated in the annual program.
In January and February, participating teachers receive a small aquarium set up for their classroom (or have one already from previous years). The Quatse Hatchery donates eyed eggs to the classrooms where students can observe the salmon’s life beginning from an eyed egg, hatched alevin and growth into fry.
Once the salmon fry are well established, they are released into the designated natal river or creek by students. In mid-March, Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Elementary School, Avalon Adventist Christian Academy and Fort Rupert Elementary school completed their fry releases.
Teachers have been excellent in tailoring the program to fit their curriculum which allows the program to stay both fluid and relevant in our community. Our world is changing very quickly – new advances in environmental science are being discovered all the time.
Involving stewardship and leadership in this process is very important. It’s very refreshing to communicate with children about healthy ecosystems, they are not politically pressured or bias towards anything and what they expressed is very encouraging.
It gets kids thinking about other things besides just the fish- they start to look at water quality, temperature, natural processes, pollution and human impacts. Students were eager to share their thoughts on the state of our environment and what they believe will help shape their future.
– with files from the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre