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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

STOCKTON FWO: Show and Tell at the Primary Years Academy

Region 8, November 17, 2011
David Dominguez, Stockton FWO, using a Chinook salmon 
life cycle poster to help educate children.
David Dominguez, Stockton FWO, using a Chinook salmon life cycle poster to help educate children. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Michael Marshall, Stockton FWO

Take a group of energetic kindergarten and first grade students, throw in some biologists, and what do you get? An Outreach event. On November 17th, 2011, three employees of the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office’s (FWO) Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program (DJFMP) gave a presentation to kindergarten and first grade classes at the Primary Years Academy located in Stockton, California.

David Dominguez of the DJFMP, worked with the Stockton FWO’s outreach coordinator Jerrica Lewis, to develop a presentation that was informative and entertaining for a group of school age children. The DJFMP staff used posters and a video presentation to show the children how salmon make their way from the Pacific Ocean back to their natal streams in Northern California to spawn and complete their life cycle.

The video illustrated how the critically endangered coho salmon are returning to a Mendocino County stream and successfully spawning, thanks in part to assistance from biologists, scientists and volunteers. The video showed members of the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network group (S.P.A.W.N.) going into streams and adding woody debris and large boulders to create habitat to make the stream a better place for the salmon to spawn and rear. Other S.P.A.W.N. group members have taken a more hands-on approach and started a small hatchery that raises coho salmon to sizes that can then be released back into the streams to grow and eventually come back to spawn and perpetuate the species.

The kids were very excited to learn about the Pacific salmon and were eager to raise their hands to try and answer questions relating to the video to win prizes. In addition, many of the kindergarteners were elated to get a small notebook with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service logo stenciled on it. The students made lots of great drawings of fish and birds for the DJFMP staff to bring back from the event and display within their offices.

Over 120 children learned a valuable lesson in conservation and about unique fish found almost in their own backyards.

Contact Info: Joseph Kirsch, 209-334-2968 ext. 309, joseph_kirsch@fws.gov