Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
YUKON DELTA: Pass out the Cigars, We're Fish Parents!
Alaska Region, December 20, 2005
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Staff at Yukon Delta celebrated some unique births this holiday season.  No there are no red-nosed reindeer, although Santa's workshop is a local call.  The Refuge has had some silver salmon eggs in an aquarium in the visitor center as an exhibit so that visitors could see what happens in the clearwater streams so many miles upstream.  Local residents who depend on salmon for subsistence rarely get to see where and how these fish spawn.  Fisheries Biologist Dan Gillikin has directed the operation, trying to keep water temperatures at a level that would delay the births until after the holidays.  However the youngsters came on their own schedule.  Refuge Information Technician Joe Asuluk has taken on "fish midwife" duties, checking the eggs daily and showing them to visitors like a proud grandparent.

Local first grade teacher Erin Oxford has a tank in her classroom as well.  Both are part of the statewide "Salmon in the Classroom."  The young alewin are thriving at the school as well.  Dalton Staller, a student in the class and son of the deputy refuge manager, provides regular updates on their welfare.

As the young fish mature they will be an interesting learning tool for both the students and visitors to the Refuge.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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