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Service Celebrates Water, Aquatic Species With 500 Elementary School Students
Pacific Region, April 17, 2013
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Eager students guess how each object they pull out represents the wetlands.
Eager students guess how each object they pull out represents the wetlands. - Photo Credit: Bobby Purks, USFWS
Children sneak a peak into the lamprey tank to see if they can find the ammocoetes hiding in the mud!
Children sneak a peak into the lamprey tank to see if they can find the ammocoetes hiding in the mud! - Photo Credit: Bobby Purks, USFWS
Us Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Jana Grote enraptures a group of curious students with her explanations of the importance of wetlands.
Us Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Jana Grote enraptures a group of curious students with her explanations of the importance of wetlands. - Photo Credit: Bobby Purks, USFWS

On April 9th, 2013, US Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries employees joined local conservation groups, organizations, high school volunteers in Celebrating Water with over 500 fourth and fifth grade students at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon. 

Cool water-themed displays allowed the elementary school students to explore water's different forms and functions. North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council gave away native plants. Water Environment Services demonstrated how wetlands filter water. Trout Unlimited gave away fishing tips while Milwaukie High School provided pet waste tutorials complete with doggie “dooty” bags. Riverhealth.org and Oak Lodge Sanitary District both had working watershed models that showed the students how an actual watershed worked. 

The Service 's displays were a big hit to students. Children gathered around the live Pacific lamprey tank, peeking in for glimpses of ammocoetes (larval lamprey) while Service employees talked about lamprey's life history and cultural importance. A salmon lifecycle display next to the lamprey tank encouraged students to make connections between the two species. Service biologist Jana Grote explained why certain items in the “wetlands bag” represented important aspects of marshes and swamps. Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery Manager Caroline Peterschmidt showed wide-eyed children different invasive species encased in glass, reminding them to be vigilant in reporting invasive species as well as taking steps to prevent their spread. 

Overall, the Celebrating Water event was a great success! Young children from the area were introduced to the ecosystem and habitats they live in, and encouraged to be more aware of who their wildlife neighbors are. Involving elementary children and high school volunteers allowed the Service and others to reach out to a broader range of the next generation of conservation professionals and supporters.  


Contact Info: Robert Purks, 503-872-2804, Robert_Purks@fws.gov



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