World Salmon Council

Volunteer Educator Application: Salmon Watch Field Trips

Salmon Watch Volunteer Educators
Get involved in a unique, hands-on environmental education program!

Salmon Watch is an award-winning program serving students throughout the Pacific Northwest, providing in-class curriculum, field trips and community projects.

World Salmon Council directly coordinates Salmon Watch activities in the greater Portland Metro and Columbia River Gorge regions, serving more than 2,000 middle and high school students annually. Our partner Salmon Watch programs in Salem, Corvallis-Albany, Eugene-Springfield, Grants Pass and Medford engage an additional 3,000 students annually, grades 5-12.

This fall WSC will host approximately 40 field trips on some of our region’s most iconic rivers in Mt. Hood National Forest, Columbia River Gorge and Mid-Coast Range- weekdays during September, October and November.

Four volunteer educators accompany each field trip (avg. 7:1 instructor-student ratio) to engage students in the following study areas: salmon biology, macroinvertebrate (aquatic insect) identification, water quality testing, and riparian (streambank) observation/nature awareness.

We need volunteers to teach each of these stations on each field trip.

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to get out of the classroom and into nature.”
Daniela, 11th grade, Forest Grove High School

Teaching a station for our middle and high school classes is fun and rewarding, and who doesn’t love spending a day on the river?

Brief station descriptions:

Salmon Biology: Usually taught by a fish biologist. A Salmon Watch field trip is the perfect opportunity for a discussion about the species of salmon that students observe on the field trip, the life cycle, anatomy, spawning behavior and topics such as the 4 Hs (Hydropower, Hatchery, Habitat, Harvest).

Salmon Bio

Macroinvertebrates: This activity reinforces what students have learned about water quality and the kinds of organisms that inhabit a stream with a particular water quality profile. At this station, students sample for aquatic insects in the stream and use that information to evaluate the health of the stream for salmon. Data collected will be uploaded to OSU’s StreamWebs online database.

DSC_6915         Macros ID

Water Quality: Monitoring provides basic information on the health of our rivers and streams. At this station, students will test temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen to determine current water conditions. Data collected will be uploaded to OSU’s StreamWebs online database. Students will also examine data collected from urban areas to compare and discuss impacts of land-based activities in different settings.


Riparian Zone: This station is an opportunity to learn about the interrelationship between salmon, humans and the watershed they share. Activities that help students gain a broader perspective include: discussion of human impacts, riparian metaphor game, plant ID scavenger hunt, stream mapping.


The field trips not only provide active, hands-on education, but also give kids a sense of place, an overview of Oregon’s natural history, increase scientific and environmental literacy, and offer a personal experience with spawning salmon that will stay with them (and you!).

“Volunteering for Salmon Watch gives me the chance to teach young students about something that I truly love.”
Julia Bond, Salmon Watch volunteer educator

2018 Training Dates To Be Announced This Summer!
No experience is necessary to become a Volunteer Educator. Free training provides you with everything you need to know about the field stations and feel comfortable teaching kids in nature.

2018-19 Volunteer Educator Application Available Soon!

Our application form is quick and easy to complete. We’re requesting that both new and returning volunteers fill out and submit the form to ensure we have up-to-date information.

“Thank you for working so hard to provide kids with such an incredible hands-on learning experience.”
Marie Miller, 5th-6th grade teacher, Horizon Christian School

(Note: if you’re interested in volunteer opportunities with one of our partner Salmon Watch programs in Oregon, please contact Rachel).

There are also additional opportunities to provide support to teachers in their classrooms, and assist with service learning projects in the spring! For more information, contact Rachel Walsh.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and for sharing your expertise to help educate the next generation to better understand and relate to the natural world on a personal level.