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Delta Experience Outreach Event 2017 by Cory Graham
California-Nevada Offices , May 24, 2017
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees William Bone and Adrian Gonzalez talk to a group of students about the Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees William Bone and Adrian Gonzalez talk to a group of students about the Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Fisheries Biologist Adrian Gonzalez demonstrating how salmon dig redds.
Fisheries Biologist Adrian Gonzalez demonstrating how salmon dig redds. - Photo Credit: USFWS

By Cory Graham

On March 24th, 2017, members of the Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program visited a class of 48 kindergarten students at Don Riggio Elementary in Stockton, California as part of their annual outreach event. This event was aimed at answering important questions, such as what kind of fishes live in the California Delta, what are the components of a healthy ecosystem, and why are fish slimy? While inclement weather caused the outreach event to be relocated from the banks of the San Joaquin River to the inside of a classroom, the students were still enthusiastic to learn about the Delta biome.

The outreach event began by explaining the objectives of the Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program and by asking the students what is their favorite fish in the Delta. While some students were disappointed (and a little skeptical) that sharks do not live in the Delta, they were still excited to learn about the fish species that do inhabit this system.

Multiple other topics were covered, such as the life cycle of salmon, the detrimental role of invasive species in a watershed, and things that do and don’t belong in a river.

During the second part of the event, the students participated in multiple activities intended to reinforce the previously introduced topics. The first activity was making salmon egg bracelets, which was a big hit with the students, many of whom were relieved that beads were used instead of real fish eggs (which most students agreed would have been too smelly).

After making a bracelet, the students built their own river habitats by identifying components of healthy (e.g., insects, rocks, woody debris) and unhealthy ecosystems (i.e., trash). While some students thought that insects were too gross for their habitats, all agreed that trash does not belong in the river.

 

The outreach event was concluded by providing the students with a gift bag containing a fisheries coloring book, a ruler (to measure their next big catch), and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Frisbee. Overall this outreach was deemed a success because it promoted awareness of current issues in the California Delta and, hopefully, sparked the interest of individuals that will aspire to become the next generation of natural resource biologists in the Delta.


Cory Graham is a Fisheries Biologist at Lodi Fish and Wildlife in Lodi, CA


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