Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
STOCKTON FWO: Service Organizes Fourth Annual Stanislaus River Salmon Festival
California-Nevada Offices , November 3, 2012
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Teri Curtis announces the winners of the Salmon Festival Art Contest.
Teri Curtis announces the winners of the Salmon Festival Art Contest. - Photo Credit: JD Wikert
The featured artwork for the cover of the Salmon Festival calendar.
The featured artwork for the cover of the Salmon Festival calendar. - Photo Credit: Joshua Reese, Grade 1, Knights Ferry Elementary School

By J.D. Wikert, Habitat Restoration Coordinator

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) staff took the lead in organizing the 4th Annual Stanislaus River Salmon Festival. The event featured a large number of exhibitors focused on providing “edutainment” to children.

The event was held on Nov. 3, 2012 at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Knights Ferry Recreation Area along the Stanislaus River in California’s Central Valley. Over 1,800 people attended the outdoor event connecting people to nature and the partnerships with agencies, private businesses, non-profits, and other organizations made the event successful. The East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District, Modesto Junior College, Great Valley Museum, FishBio LLC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and both Oakdale and Knights Ferry schools played key roles in organizing the event.

 The event offered a variety of opportunities for outdoor education including salmon carcass survey demonstrations and fish ID from the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), fly-fishing demonstrations, watching salmon spawning in the river from the Knights Ferry bridge and via a live salmon cam, and making your own Gyotaku (fish print) t-shirts. Numerous exhibitors had live aquatic macro-invertebrates, and the Service booth offered the opportunity to view these aquatic bugs through a dissecting scope. The Service and CDFG had a 200 gallon aquarium with about a dozen yearling Chinook salmon that were brought from the Merced River Hatchery.

The event included a salmon art competition with pieces from K-12 schools from the area along the Stanislaus River. The art contest winners were included in a festival calendar that was available for sale at the event. The calendar includes local events and descriptions of salmon life history in the Stanislaus River by month. Proceeds from the calendar sales will help support next year’s event, and a set of calendars will be donated to classrooms participating in the “Salmon in the Classroom” program.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's museum was open and presentations were given on Stanislaus River wildlife. Freshly cooked salmon was offered at bargain prices by the Lions Club, 4-H provided hot dogs, and the Knights Ferry School conducted a bake sale and live music was performed by local talent. Modesto Junior College volunteers helped with traffic and other duties to make parking easier for vistors.

In addition to organizing the event, Service staff provided information on salmon, restoration, monitoring, aquatic nuisance species, and helped out with exhibitor setup/cleanup, and answered questions about salmon and the Stanislaus River on the bridge overlooking the river. For more information, and pictures, please visit the Stanislaus River Salmon Festival Facebook page. Thanks to all who participated in the event and helped to make it a great success. Next year’s event will be held on Oct. 26, 2013.

Contact Info: Ramon Martin, 209-334-2968 ext. 401, ramon_martin@fws.gov
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