Foster Creek Staff have been busily working away on so many different education and outreach activities over the last couple of months, we wanted to take some time to share some of the events with you!
Mid-January, Foster Creek Staff went and picked up 500 chinook salmon eggs and delivered them to two different classrooms that participated with our Salmon in the Classroom Program. The Mansfield 5th and 6th graders learned so much about this local anadromous fish, meaning they live in both fresh and salt water for a period of their life. They explored the life cycle of salmon and where throughout the watershed each part of it takes place. They learned about the greater ecosystem for salmon and what in that ecosystem can cause harm to the salmon’s habitat and population. The class conquered water quality problems within their tank and reared 217 chinook fry and released them into the Columbia at Walla Walla Park, in Wenatchee. We capped the experience off by going to the Rocky Reach Dam Discovery Center and learned how the dam’s hatcheries help boost populations of salmon, and how the PUD help ensure the fish travel as safe as possible through the dam’s fish ladder and outflow systems.
Our 7th and 8th grade classes up at Lake Roosevelt Middle School dove deeper into salmon habitat and how to protect the surrounding ecosystem to avoid degradation or destruction of lands that can impact the water quality of the Columbia River. The cultural significance of salmon to the Colville Confederated Tribes was also highlighted throughout many of the lessons expanding on salmon as a first food for the tribes and why protecting them is so important. Due to a large quantity of students and COVID restirctions, these classes weren’t able to release the fish themselves, however, their teacher was able to release the 249 reared salmon fry into the mouth of Foster Creek with a small ceremony, and recorded the entire experience for his students back in the classroom.
Thank you to the Department of Ecology and the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board for funding this program!
Camp Sagebrush had 30 campers attend from all over Central Washington! Day one campers hiked throughout the coulee, learning about the different plants and animals and how to properly identify them. They immediately noticed problems that impact the shrub steppe, like cheat grass and how prevalent other weeds are within this system. They learned about the history of the Coulees and the shrub steppe, as well as expanded on the ecosystem as a whole exploring water and soil!
Day two was just as exciting with campers learning about fire regimes and what burn patterns are typical for the shrub steppe ecosystem. They also did some wildfire training with our wonderful Volunteer Fire Fighters from District 7 in Grant County.
Day three brought all our training from the previous days together and focused in on how the campers can help create a fire adapted community within their communities and looked deeper into what is happening during an emergency like wildfires and how they can help in situations like evacuating.
Overall, our campers had a blast and so did the staff from FCCD and our many volunteers from so many great agencies and organizations. We are so pleased with our first Camp Sagebrush and look forward to hosting it again in years to come!
Thank you to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for funding Camp Sagebrush and thanks to our many wonderful partners who helped support this camp through donations and time!
Earth Day at Pybus Market in Wenatchee
Angie and Becca had a full display providing information on pollinators and other ecosystem helpers both above and below ground. They had a fun kids craft of making a sage grouse nest to help promote Camp Sagebrush. They also highlighted Voluntary Stewardship Program and how the shrub steppe and pollinators fit within the program and how community can be involved!
Sharp-tail Days at Foster Creek
Angie, Nate, and Becca were involved in providing the watershed education to local 5th graders from Waterville and Bridgeport Schools. Using a sand model the students looked into what happens to streams without the proper vegetation growing around it. They also learned about what ecosystem engineers beavers are and how we as humans try to mimic their engineering by building beaver dam analogues in stream restoration.
VSP Orchard Tour in Chelan
The VSP Growing Your Farm Orchard Tour was cosponsored by Douglas County VSP and Cascadia Conservation District and was hosted at Diamondback Orchards and Hard Row to Hoe Vinyards. Management practices that help promote voluntary stewardship best management practices and the Salmon Safe program.
Herbicide Resistance and Crop Rotation Field Tour in Douglas County
Ryan and the Douglas County Herbicide Resistence Group along with WSU hosted a field tour around Dyer Hill. The tour looked at different management approaches like integrated crop rotations, weed-its, and explored how these managements can help address the concern of herbicide resistance within wheat systems.
FloodFest 2022 at Dry Falls Visitor Center
Rebecca, Angie, and Becca provided education on all things shrub steppe which included education on our critical species like the sage grouse, information about noxious weeds and their impacts to the ecosystem, and how wildfires are becoming an issue throughout the shurb steppe and what do do to become more fire adapted.