Foster Creek Conservation District
Foster Creek Conservation District

Salmon in the Classroom

Eyed Chinook salmon eggs on Jan 4, 2018 (photo by O.Schilling)

This winter, FCCD brought Chinook salmon into Waterville and Mansfield Schools as part of WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s School Cooperative Program. FCCD partnered with the Wells Fish Hatchery, Trout Unlimited and WA Department of Ecology for funding and setup of 55 gallon tanks complete with chillers, filters, aerators, bubble wands and gravel. Each school received 250 eyed salmon eggs in early January, which started hatching not long after. (Fish biologists refer to them as "eyed" eggs because you can see the fish eye through the egg, indicating they are near hatching.) For 6-8 weeks, the salmon live off of yolk sacs and are called alevin. Once their yolk is used up they are referred to as fry, and need to be fed frequently. During this time, teachers and students monitor the water quality in the tank regularly to ensure the fish stay healthy.


Participating teachers incorporate the water cycle, salmon life cycle and water quality education into their curriculum throughout the year. Participating classrooms have the opportunity for several guest lectures from FCCD and Wells Hatchery, and even a fish dissection, courtesy of the Cascade Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group. The program will wrap up in late April with a field trip to release the fish into the Columbia River, then a tour of the Rocky Reach Dam.

Chinook salmon alevin on Feb 12, 2018 (photo by O.Schilling)
Chinook salmon alevin on Feb 12, 2018 (photo by O.Schilling)
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Foster Creek Conservation District 203 S Rainier Waterville, WA 98858 509-888-6372 © Foster Creek CD