Lake Sturgeon 101 and Other Stuff
BY ANDREW BRIGGS, ALPENA FWCO - WATERFORD MI SUBSTATION
Engaging today’s youth in the importance and conservation of our natural resources is a high priority of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Today’s youth are the future of natural resource conservation; however, with the expansion of urban areas, fewer youth get to experience nature first hand. At Waldon Middle School in Lake Orion, Michigan, 8th grade students in Mr. Jon Gray’s classes are getting the opportunity to raise lake sturgeon and Chinook salmon.
The students are participating in the Sturgeon and Salmon in the Classroom programs, run by the St. Clair-Detroit River Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. These programs give the students a hands-on opportunity to learn about the life history and habitat requirements of Lake sturgeon and Chinook salmon.
To further educate his students on lake sturgeon physiology, biology, and conservation, Mr. Gray invited fish biologist Andrew Briggs of the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) – Waterford substation to speak to his four classes. Aside from information on lake sturgeon, Andrew also discussed what the Alpena FWCO is doing to assess and improve habitat and combat the spread of invasive species. For the many students that had an interest in future jobs in biology, Andrew discussed the tasks that he completes as a fish biologist and the steps he took to become a fish biologist.
Students took great interest in Andrew’s presentation and had the opportunity to ask questions during and after his talk. Questions included…how big was the largest lake sturgeon that Andrew ever caught?... what is the most lake sturgeon Andrew has caught in one day? And… how did invasive species get to Michigan? The 100 students that participated in the presentation came away with a better understanding and appreciation of lake sturgeon and became aware of some of the career opportunities that are available to them in biology.