World Salmon Council

Category Archives: Field Trips

Salmon Watch 2017 Field Trip Season Complete!

Salmon Watch had a fun, successful fall 2017 field trip season!

This fall, we hosted 42 field trips with 28 teachers at 21 middle and high schools in the Portland metro and Columbia Gorge regions. We brought over 1300 students to beautiful stream sites in Mt. Hood National Forest, Tillamook State Forest, the Columbia Gorge, Eagle Fern Park, and Daybreak Park (WA). These students had the opportunity to witness salmon spawning in the wild, learn about Pacific Northwest ecology, and gain a sense of connection to the incredible bioregion where they live.

The wildfires this season provided both a challenge and an additional learning opportunity for our students about the ecology of our area. We were fortunate to be able to relocate ten former Columbia Gorge field trips and two volunteer trainings to Eagle Fern Park near Estacada. Many thanks to Clackamas County Parks for providing last minute access to our new site. Our thoughts continue to be with all of those affected by the fires.

Salmon Watch was fortunate this season to be able to work with students from The Blueprint Foundation who are participants in a STEM mentoring program for young African-American males.

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Salmon Watch Field Trips: Season Wrap-up

The redds are made; the eggs are laid. The students are filled with new knowledge and excitement about salmon and their role in Pacific Northwest ecosystems!

This 2016-17 field trip season, Salmon Watch provided hands-on, outdoor learning experiences on 51 field trips at 8 beautiful stream sites to over 1500 students from 26 different schools. Salmon Watch field trips ranged from the Nestucca River in Yamhill County up to the North Fork of the Lewis River in SW Washington, and from the Little White Salmon River in the mid-Columbia Gorge to Cedar Creek in the Tillamook State Forest.

In total, 95 dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers, including retired teachers, public agency scientists, and people from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds, contributed over 1000 volunteer hours. They caught macros, dissected salmon, measured pH, guided riparian hikes, and opened young minds to the importance of healthy ecosystems. All in all, they taught 204 field trip stations! And 38 amazing teachers, often braving rain and cold, brought their students outside to get to know the incredible natural areas right in their backyards, and gain an appreciation for how we depend on these ecosystems day in and day out.

Here’s what some of our volunteer educators said about their experiences this year and how they feel about Salmon Watch:

“Making environmental education a part of my Forest’s fisheries program gets harder as the years go by and there is less funding and more time pressures, so being able to reach so many kids to teach them about salmon is only possible because Salmon Watch does all the hard work of coordination, purchasing teaching materials, etc. I really love this program and am happy to help out.” – Stephanie Caballero, fisheries biologist with the US Forest Service

“Salmon Watch is growing advocates for sustainable natural resource management. These students get excited about salmon, rivers and the outdoors through the Salmon Watch activities.” – Deb Hanson, freelance writer

“I believe in hands-on, outdoor education, especially in relation to developing understanding and empathy for the natural world. It is very critical to learning for the whole person, and for our society and its challenges. Salmon Watch is helping students to learn about the natural world and web of life that provides the foundation for our society and all the resources that we rely on.” – Karen Lamson, Wasco County Soil & Water Conservation District

This season, Salmon Watch also expanded our High School Leaders program, which gives outstanding high school students the opportunity to serve as volunteer educators, advancing their own knowledge and leadership experience by teaching their peers. Last year, Maria Fuentes was the premier participant in the pilot program. This year, two more High School Leaders joined the program: Nick Flake and Jake Bunker. Salmon Watch will continue to expand this new program in the new year and provide even more opportunities for motivated students to practice career skills and grow in their understanding and appreciation for the natural world.

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Salmon Watch Field Trips Week #9 (2016)

The ninth and final week of the 2016 Salmon Watch field trip season is now complete!

This week’s field trips included:

Monday, November 14th – Beaverton High School – Cedar Creek

Tuesday, November 15th – Beaverton High School – Cedar Creek

Wednesday, November 16th – Patton Middle School – Nestucca River

Wednesday, November 16th  – McMinnville High School – Nestucca River

Thursday, November 17th- Patton Middle School – Nestucca River

Friday, November 18th – McMinnville High School – Nestucca River

We had so much fun visiting our region’s beautiful rivers and streams, educating students about salmon, their unique and fascinating life history and vital role as a keystone species in Pacific Northwest ecosystems, and helping connect youth and adults with the remarkable environment we depend on.This year, we took 1,500 students from 27 schools on 51 field trips, which provided valuable hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to become better acquainted with the incredible natural world that surrounds us.

Now it’s time to celebrate! We’ll be showing appreciation for our volunteers, teachers, and donors at our Salmon Watch Happy Hour on Tuesday, December 6th from 4:30-7:00pm at Widmer Brothers Brewing. We hope you’ll join us in saying thank you to all the amazing people who make Salmon Watch possible.

And while our field trip season may have ended, just like the school year, Salmon Watch is only halfway through its annual program. This Spring, we’ll assist a dozen or more classes in planning and implementing service learning projects. And we’ll continue to work with over 40 teachers to integrate our curriculum and resources into their classrooms, directly reaching more than 2,000 students in the greater Portland metropolitan and Columbia River Gorge regions, while also providing resources, services and support to our partner organizations, helping them engage an additional 3,000 kids throughout Oregon.

There’s plenty of learning, service, and enjoyment of the outdoors to come!

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Salmon Watch Field Trips Week #8 (2016)

Experiential outdoor education with Salmon Watch continued this week with three more field trips! We are nearing the end of our 2016 field trip season, with 45 field trips completed and only 6 more to go.

This week’s field trips were:

Monday, November 7th – Forest Grove High School – Cedar Creek

Tuesday, November 8th – Walt Morey Middle School – Eagle Creek

Tuesday November 8th – Forest Grove High School – Cedar Creek

Salmon Watch provides valuable, hands-on learning experiences to middle and high schoolers, connecting the next generation of decision-makers with nature, increasing their scientific and environmental literacy, and ensuring they understand the importance of Oregon’s natural heritage.

It’s also fun! Volunteer Chris Toole describes his experience teaching the Salmon Biology station at Cedar Creek this week:

“We saw two live salmon (looked like Chinook) swim by briefly during the day. All stations stopped what they were doing to watch them. We could also see them off and on in the pool upstream from the bridge. I found two carcasses just upstream of bridge before class arrived and I took them up on bridge for them to look at closely. One was a male Chinook and one a male coho, both unclipped [i.e. not hatchery fish, which have their adipose fin clipped to distinguish them from wild salmon]. The coho was fresh enough to cut open for discussion of internal anatomy.”

As always, these engaging and enlightening encounters with wild salmon wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of time, energy, and knowledge from our amazing volunteers, who make space in their busy schedules to educate and interact with students.

That’s why we’ll be announcing our end-of-year celebration and volunteer recognition gathering very shortly. Stay tuned for information on how to join the festivities!

And, check back next week to read about the 9th and final week of our 2016 Salmon Watch field trip season!

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Salmon Watch Field Trips Week #7 (2016)

Featured image: Thumb is chum…YEC crew members teach Walt Morey students about the types of Pacific salmon

7 weeks and 42 field trips down, only two more weeks and 9 more Salmon Watch field trips to go!

This week’s line-up of Salmon Watch trips was as follows:

Monday, October 31st – Sellwood Middle School – Eagle Creek (Happy Halloween!)

Wednesday, November 2nd – Walt Morey Middle School – Eagle Creek

Friday, November 4th – Walt Morey Middle School – Eagle Creek

Our field trips this week with Walt Morey Middle School were taught by volunteer educators from Youth Ecology Corps.

Youth Ecology Corps is a partnership between Metro and Project YESS (Youth Employability Support Services), housed at Mt. Hood Community College, that provides valuable workforce development opportunities to youths aged 16 to 21 in the areas of habitat restoration and conservation education. YEC crew members participate in service projects to improve water quality, restore native plant communities, create wildlife habitat, and educate others about Oregon’s amazing natural heritage. These experiences provide YEC members with hands-on training in useful skills that prepare them for careers working outdoors.

Salmon Watch is proud to partner with these groups and work with YEC to provide fun, experiential education to the students at Walt Morey. And there’s no better way for YEC members to learn about ecology and conservation than by teaching others.

Next week, we continue with Salmon Watch Week #8 and three more field trips. Our field trip season is almost complete, and we’re looking forward to starting our service learning season in the Spring!

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Salmon Watch Field Trips Week #6 (2016)

Featured photo: Mark Oppenheimer’s 6th grade class from Hood River Middle School in high spirits following their Salmon Watch field trip

Many more exciting encounters with Pacific wild salmon were had during Salmon Watch Week #6!

This past week, middle and high school students from Horizon Christian School, Hood River Middle School, West Sylvan Middle School, Reynolds High School, and Liberty High School had their days on the river. A total of eight field trips were completed, and students enjoyed experiential learning activities with local experts from public agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Field trips this week included:

Monday, October 24th  – Horizon Christian School – Little White Salmon River

Tuesday, October 25th  – Hood River Middle School – Little White Salmon River

Tuesday, October 25th – West Sylvan Middle School – Eagle Creek

Wednesday, October 26th – Hood River Middle School – Little White Salmon River

Thursday, October 27th – Reynolds High School – Eagle Creek

Thursday, October 27th – Hood River Middle School – Little White Salmon River

Thursday, October 27th – Liberty High School – Cedar Creek

Friday, October 28th – Liberty High School – Cedar Creek

We can’t thank our amazing volunteers enough for making these experiences possible for students. “The students were great!” said Hilary Doulos, fisheries project assistant with Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and Salmon Watch volunteer educator. “They asked lots of good questions, were interactive and it was clear they were really enjoying learning about salmon.”

Julia Bond, science director with The Freshwater Trust and Salmon Watch volunteer educator, said following her field trip, “Salmon Watch provides students with an important and unique opportunity to engage with our freshwater systems. It provides them with the opportunity to see and learn about amazing creatures, which gives them an appreciation for rivers and streams. Volunteering for Salmon Watch gives me the chance to teach young students about something that I truly love.”

Stay tuned for Salmon Watch Week #7, when the Youth Ecology Corps will be leading their field trips. 39 field trips down, only 12 to go!

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Liberty High School students caught a sculpin in the macroinvertebrate sampling net!

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Liberty High School students are excited to spot salmon passing under the bridge at Cedar Creek

Salmon Watch Field Trips Week #5 (2016)

Photos are from Dexter McCarty Middle School field trips during Week #5

Hands-on, experiential outdoor education continued with Salmon Watch Week #5, as four schools went on 7 field trips at Eagle Creek and Little White Salmon River in the Columbia Gorge.

Participating Salmon Watch schools this week included:

Monday, October 17th – Dexter McCarty Middle School – Eagle Creek

Tuesday, October 18th – Dexter McCarty Middle School – Eagle Creek

Tuesday, October 18th – Hood River Middle School – Little White Salmon River

Wednesday, October 19th – Hood River Middle School – Little White Salmon River

Wednesday, October 19th – Madison High School – Eagle Creek

Thursday, October 20th – Hood River Middle School – Little White Salmon River

Friday, October 21st – Hood River Valley High – Little White Salmon River

The 2016 Salmon Watch field trip season is now more than halfway completed, with 33 field trips down, and 17 remaining. Next week we continue with more field trips in the Gorge, as well as our first field trips in the Tillamook State Forest at Cedar Creek.

Much gratitude is owed to our wonderful volunteer educators for all their hard work making Salmon Watch possible. Following his trip, volunteer Chris Toole said, “I am a retired fish biologist – this is exactly the sort of thing I want to be doing that I never seemed to have time for when I was working. It is fun, keeps me around fish, and is inspiring to see enthusiastic young people who will hopefully take away some ideas that will help them and our environment in the future.”

Volunteer Christine Buhl said, “Every kid growing up in the PNW should see salmon in their habitat and understand the ecology that supports them. It’s not just salmon, it gets the wheels turning when thinking about the inter-relatedness of other species and habitats.”

In Week #6, Salmon Watch 2016 will continue its work getting kids outdoors, connecting them with nature, and equipping them with knowledge and appreciation for Oregon’s amazing natural heritage, which will prepare them for their role as future environmental decision-makers.

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Salmon Watch Field Trips Week #4 (2016)

Featured photos are from our Project YESS/YEC Training Session on Friday, October 14th

Salmon Watch continued last week with four field trips in the Columbia Gorge at Eagle Creek and Little White Salmon River, as well as our Project YESS/YEC Training Session!

Participating Salmon Watch schools/groups for Week #4 were:

Monday, October 10th: Creative Science School (M.S.) at Eagle Creek

Monday, October 10th: The Dalles Middle School at Little White Salmon River

Tuesday, October 11th: Creative Science School (M.S) at Eagle Creek

Tuesday, October 11th: The Dalles Middle School at Little White Salmon River

Friday, October 14th: Project YESS/YEC Training Session

With the conclusion of Salmon Watch Week #4, we’ve now completed 23 field trips with 28 left to go!

The Project YESS/YEC Training Session was a huge success! Eight members of the Youth Ecology Corps (YEC) based out of Mt. Hood Community College came out to Eagle Creek to learn how to teach our four field trip stations: Salmon Biology, Macroinvertebrate Sampling, Water Quality Testing, and Riparian Zone Observation. They did a great job, learned a lot, and had lots of fun!

A high school student named Jake also came out to the training as part of our new High School Leaders Program. Jake is the third member of the program, which is off to a great start. Also in Week #4, another student from Canby High School named Nick taught the Macroinvertebrate Sampling station at Little White Salmon River for The Dalles Middle School. Thanks so much to our High School Leaders and members of the Youth Ecology Corps for helping to educate younger students about the natural world and the importance of salmon for Pacific Northwest ecosystems.

Salmon Watch continues next week with 7 field trips!

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Salmon Watch Field Trips Week #3 (2016)

Salmon Watch continued this week with 7 more field trips!

This week we concluded our field trips at Zigzag River, and saw the start of field trips at Eagle Creek and Little White Salmon River. We also had one field trip on the North Fork of the Lewis River in Washington with Hudson’s Bay High School.

Participating Salmon Watch schools included:

Tuesday, October 4th: The Dalles Middle School at Little White Salmon River

Wednesday, October 5th: Clackamas Web Academy (H.S.) at Eagle Creek

Thursday, October 6th: Scott School K-8 at Eagle Creek

Thursday, October 6th: Hudson’s Bay High School at the North Fork of the Lewis River

Thursday, October 6th: Franklin High School at Zigzag River

Friday, October 7th: The Dalles Middle School at Little White Salmon River

Friday, October 7th: Franklin High School at Zigzag River

Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery provided salmon carcasses for dissection in the Salmon Biology station, and one of the hatchery biologists taught the Macroinvertebrate Sampling station on Friday with The Dalles Middle School. Thanks so much to LWS-NFH and all the public agencies that contribute in various ways to Salmon Watch!

We are also beginning to receive student evaluations from our participating schools, in which students share their newfound salmon knowledge and what they enjoyed most about their field trips. Edward, 8th grader at ACCESS Academy, said, “The Macroinvertebrate Identification was my favorite station because I enjoyed looking at the bugs up close. The viewing of the bugs using the magnifying tool was fun because I got to see the inside of a bug because the bottom of it was transparent.”

Photos in this article feature the Macroinvertebrate station at Zigzag River on Thursday with Franklin High School and new Salmon Watch teacher, Erin Ferro.

Once again, incredible thanks to all our passionate and dedicated volunteer educators and teachers. See you next week, when we have 4 more field trips and our Project YESS/YEC training session!

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Salmon Watch Field Trips Week #2 (2016)

Salmon Watch 2016-17 continued this week with five more field trips!

Much thanks to the four schools that participated this week, along with our dedicated Salmon Watch teachers and volunteer educators. This week, volunteers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Johnson Creek Watershed Council (and more!) passed along their knowledge and shared experiences in nature with students.

Monday, September 26th: Portland Waldorf School at the Salmon River

Tuesday, September 27: Gresham High School at the Zigzag River

Tuesday, September 27: Winterhaven K-8 at the Salmon River

Thursday, September 29: Centennial High School at the Salmon River

Friday September 30: Centennial High School at the Salmon River

This week concluded our field trips at the Salmon River, and our trips at the Zigzag River are winding down with just two more next week. With the start of October, we’ll begin field trips at the Little White Salmon River, Eagle Creek, and we’ll have one trip on the Lewis River.

Photos taken by volunteers and chaperones are rolling in. The photos in this article feature a fish dissection by Josie Thompson with the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, from last Friday’s trip with Grant High School.

Another dissection was done by volunteer educator Chris Toole, a retired NOAA fisheries biologist, on Tuesday with Gresham High School. Chris said, “Most of the kids were fascinated by the anatomy and some even took pictures. And we did have fish over the same redd as on Friday as well as a second redd just upstream…Also, unknown to me, ODFW emptied the trap while we were out there and explained what they were doing for the students at the stations closest to the trap…It was interesting because at our station we could tell that something had happened because all of a sudden there were these fish just racing upstream and then back down.”

Salmon Watch continues next week with more experiential encounters with Pacific salmon like these!

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