Salmon in the Classroom 2008-2009

CVTU – Salmon in the Classroom Update – 1/09/09

Clinton Valley Trout Unlimited has for the first time sponsored a school to participate in the 2008 -09 Michigan DNR “Salmon in the Classroom” program. This program is an offshoot of the Trout Unlimited National “Trout in the Classroom” program that is found in many other states. The Michigan DNR modified the national program to feature salmon because of the economic importance of recreational salmon fishing in Michigan. The program is designed to bring awareness to Michigan’s participating students of the life cycle of salmon, how it ties into the ecology of the cold water rivers in Michigan, and to foster conservation efforts that will improve salmon habitat in the cold water rivers. In addition, the students will learn about the recreational and economic benefits of the salmon fishery to the state of Michigan.

Clinton Valley Trout Unlimited recruits teachers to participate in the program and provides the funding for fish tank and other equipment needed which comes to almost a $1000 per class room sponsored. The Michigan DNR provides the educators participating in the program a one day training course at one of the salmon hatcheries run by the DNR. A collector’s permit is granted at the completion of the training and is required by law to allow the program participant to acquire fertilized salmon eggs from the hatchery and to raise the salmon fry to the release age. At the training course the instructor reviews the equipment needed, the setup and the maintenance of the equipment. Instructions are given how to raise the salmon from eggs to 2” to 3” salmon fry over the course of a school year. Each classrooms tank becomes a rearing pen for up to 200 salmon. Instructions and locations for releasing the salmon fry in a local river to continue their life cycle in the rivers and Great Lakes in the spring are also provided. A lesson planning guide is supplied so the educators can tie skills and techniques used in raising of the salmon to their science, math and environmental science curriculums.

In this our first year sponsoring “Salmon in the Classroom”, we are fortunate to have found Dave Green who teaches 7th and 8th graders Environmental Science at the Brandon Middle School in Ortonville Michigan. Dave Green has been very active in teaching his students the importance of maintaining and improving the environment. He has undertaken many projects inside and outside of the classroom to involve his students with “hands on” learning experiences. Throughout the 08-09 school year, his students will be actively involved in caring for the salmon from eggs, feeding the fry and maintaining the tank. The finale will be a field trip for the actual release of the fish into the Clinton River in the spring of 2009. The students will learn the life cycle of the salmon and its connections to the environmental issues of the day. Hopefully they will also have developed an appreciation for maintaining and improving the cold water rivers in Michigan, as well as the environment in general.

As of Dec 19 the salmon eggs have hatched however the fry were not yet free swimming as they are slowly absorbing their yoke sacks. Pictures of the equipment and the students will be available on our web site, please keep checking the site for updates.

Tight Lines,
Mark Tracey – CVTU – Board Member