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COLEMAN NFH: California-Nevada Fish Health Center Enriches Educational Experience of Local School Children
California-Nevada Offices , September 4, 2015
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Fourth grade class at Evergreen Elementary school receiving in class tutorial about the salmon life cycle by Ron Stone, Fish Biologist with the Ca-NV Fish Health Center.
Fourth grade class at Evergreen Elementary school receiving in class tutorial about the salmon life cycle by Ron Stone, Fish Biologist with the Ca-NV Fish Health Center. - Photo Credit: Ron Stone/USFWS
Kindergarten classes beginning their tour of Coleman National Fish Hatchery lead by a volunteer from the Friends of Coleman Fish Hatchery group.
Kindergarten classes beginning their tour of Coleman National Fish Hatchery lead by a volunteer from the Friends of Coleman Fish Hatchery group. - Photo Credit: Ron Stone/USFWS

By Ron Stone

The California-Nevada Fish Health Center is committed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Connecting Children with Nature program and strives to enrich the educational experience of local school children by getting them outside and in touch with their natural environment.

In September 2015, teachers were given the opportunity to examine their curriculum and request scientific teaching aids that would correlate with outdoor activities planned by Fish Health Center staff. Teaching aids were procured for almost all grade levels ranging from Kindergarten through the 4th grade. Books about the salmon life cycle, water cycle, riparian environments, the importance of invertebrates and how they benefit people and fish were requested and obtained. Owl pellets, bird identification books and binoculars were bought. Casts of animal tracks and animal track identification charts were also purchased. All teaching aids were used to front load school children with information about the natural world around them before introducing them to the second phase; outdoor activities.

Beginning in October, after completing the in-class curriculum, 118 kindergarten, 104 second grade and 131 fourth grade students took field trips to the Coleman National Fish Hatchery facility. A total of 353 kids were able to take advantage of this opportunity. The Fish Health Center worked in conjunction with Coleman National Fish Hatchery and The Friends of Coleman Hatchery volunteer group to facilitate educational field trips.

Kids spent the day touring the facility and learning about the salmon life cycle by seeing it firsthand. Hundreds of Chinook salmon filled Battle Creek and were easily visible from the viewing platform. The kids then watched how salmon are spawned, where and how eggs are incubated, then fed fish being held in raceways prior to release.

Following their hatchery tour kids went on a guided four mile nature walk which took them around the hatcheries abatement ponds and onto a state wildlife preserve and viewing area. Trail markers informed them about the trees, vegetation and wildlife that live and use the habitats within the preserve. The kids were able to incorporate all the preloaded information obtained from the teaching aids. They identified animal tracks, birds, mammals, trees and fish along the way.

Visiting Coleman National Fish Hatchery and its surrounding areas puts children directly in contact with the natural world around them. They learn and experience things that can only be achieved when you’re outside. The Ca-NV Fish Health Center plans to continue their partnership with Evergreen elementary school.

 

--FWS----

 

Ron Stone is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish biologist at Coleman National Fish Hatchery near Anderson, California.


Contact Info: Ron Stone, 530-365-4271 ext.212, Ron_Stone@fws.gov
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