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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

STOCKTON FWO: Fish and Wildlife Service Makes a Splash at the Green Footprint Festival

Region 8, June 14, 2012
Angelina Bourandas, Stockton FWO, explains the salmon life cycle to a group of children at the Green Footprint festival.
Angelina Bourandas, Stockton FWO, explains the salmon life cycle to a group of children at the Green Footprint festival. - Photo Credit: n/a
Stockton FWO staff leads an interactive “Build Your Own River Habitat” activity for children.
Stockton FWO staff leads an interactive “Build Your Own River Habitat” activity for children. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Kate Erly, Stockton FWO 

What makes a river a thriving environment for native fish? That was the question U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff asked hundreds of children at the annual Green Footprint Festival held June 14, 2012 in Pittsburg, California.

The Green Footprint Festival was focused on educating community members of ways they can encourage green living and leaving a “lighter footprint on the Earth.” One of the more popular activities at the event was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) table hosted by the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office (FWO) Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program.

Children of all ages were asked by Service staff to roll up their sleeves and put on their thinking caps when asked what they would put in a river to make it a healthy ecosystem for thriving native fish communities. All the elements were provided for a successful river system including representative spawning salmon, aquatic vegetation, and downed debris to name a few, as well as those troublesome additions no one wants in their water ways; trash, invasive species, etc.

Beginning from the ground up, festival goers first began with river rocks and water, then came the real fun: building and designing their rivers.

Do you want plants in your river? You betcha! How about tree coverage? Yes, Please! What about a steady food supply? Without a doubt! What about left over fishing line from your last fishing trip? No way! Fish could get tangled up and die. What about a few goldfish from your fish tank, should we add that to our river? Sure, the more the merrier! Wait; now let’s think about that one a bit more. If we add a species that does not occur naturally in this environment do you think it will have a negative impact on native fish already living there?

Each question posed to the kids prompted discussion and spurred problem solving skills. Upon completing their river building adventure, kids were awarded with fun prizes, and the satisfaction and knowledge that they can and will make a difference in their environment.

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