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LODI FWO: Primary Years Academy
California-Nevada Offices , May 20, 2015
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Primary Years Academy students getting their hands wet while learning about fish habitats.
Primary Years Academy students getting their hands wet while learning about fish habitats. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Children running the fish obstacle course. Please notice the fishermen (obstacles) are wearing their life jackets.
Children running the fish obstacle course. Please notice the fishermen (obstacles) are wearing their life jackets. - Photo Credit: USFWS

By Judith Barkstedt

 

On May 20th, 2015, staff from the Lodi Fish and Wildlife Office’s Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program operated interactive learning stations for students in kindergarten through fourth grade at the Primary Years Academy in Stockton, California. This event was planned to teach students about the salmon life cycle and about impediments to salmon migration caused by humans. Some of the outreach activities were created specifically for this event and they were designed to engage children in hands-on learning about stream habitat, the salmon life cycle, and about migration using an obstacle course simulation.

Four classrooms cycled through three stations. First, children made salmon bracelets where each bead symbolized a stage of the salmon life cycle, from egg, alevin, smolt, juvenile, and adult stages. In addition to learning the life stages, they learned where salmon are in the aquatic system and the physiological changes fish undergo to live in the ocean. Secondly, children moved to that habitat station where they “deposited” artificial salmon eggs in three substrate types—sand, gravel, and cobble, all aerated to simulate water movement—and chose which substrates salmon may prefer to use for spawning. They used that substrate to build their own redds, then added in elements to a stream model important to salmon juveniles such as structure and prey items. The last station burned energy from the kids when they raced through an obstacle course from the ocean to their natal streams trying to avoid human impacts on salmon adults by jumping over a “pumping station”, dodging fishermen, and swimming up a fish ladder.

The new curriculum was deemed a success and will be implemented in future outreach events. Students were excited to learn about the salmon life cycle in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and about the imperiled fish in their backyard.

-- FWS --

 

Judith Barkstedt is a bological science technician with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Lodi, Calif.


Contact Info: Jerrica Lewis, 209-334-2968 ext 338, Jerrica_Lewis@fws.gov
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