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STOCKTON FWO: Community Outreach for Bethany Elementary School
California-Nevada Offices , April 28, 2014
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U.S.Fish and Wildlife staff at Bethany 
Elementary School in Mountain House, Calif.
U.S.Fish and Wildlife staff at Bethany Elementary School in Mountain House, Calif. - Photo Credit: Lynnete Hapgood
The children of Bethany Elementary School get their hands wet while learning about aquatic habitats.
The children of Bethany Elementary School get their hands wet while learning about aquatic habitats. - Photo Credit: Lynnete Hapgood

By Patrick Hapgood and Phil Voong

The Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program visited Bethany Elementary School in Mountain House, California on April 28, 2014. Staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spent two hours with 80 second grade students that live just minutes from Bethany Reservoir, which is located  within short driving distances to many other parts of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Goals for the day included introducing and educating the children about the local watershed and the fish and wildlife that live there. Program staff emphasized the importance and impact that each person has on their environment.

Service staff began by showing the students the sampling equipment used to perform our duties in the field. Two sein nets, waders and other items were used as visual tools to engage the children. Staff explained how this equipment is used to catch and study endangered and threatened species such as winter-run Chinook Salmon and Delta Smelt along with other local fish.
 
Staff walked the children through the life cycle of the salmon and were shown a display of salmon eggs in varying stages of development. There were discussions about their experiences with the water, fish, and wildlife around them and many students inquired about Service jobs, how often samples were done and the outcome of the studies.

Staff also engaged the class with some interactive activities. Students viewed live fish and shrimp in an aquarium and then worked on a live habitat activity. Each student took a turn evaluating the habitat that was set up with live fish and shrimp, creating a healthy habitat, identifying the items that are harmful, catching a live fish and handling the fish. The children were able to see how delicate fish and shrimp are by seeing them in real life. Most students explained that they had never seen a live fish in person, have never held one, or knew what they looked like in the water.

The students and their teachers asked great questions and were all very appreciative of what they learned at the event. Many of the students said that they will be sure to take care of their environment and a few said they were going to learn how to fish.

Patrick Hapgood is a small craft operator and Phil Voong is a biological science technician for the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office in Lodi, California.


Contact Info: Jerrica Lewis, 209-334-2968 ext 328, Jerrica_Lewis@fws.gov



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