Habitat Improvement

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Feb 26

New partnership with Puyallup Historical Hatchery

Posted on February 26, 2016 at 8:13 AM by Allan Warren

Hatchery field tripFor the past two years, the local salmon homecoming celebration has been held at the Puyallup Historical Hatchery along Clarks Creek.  The public has flocked to the event to view the returning salmon, feed the hatchery fish, enjoy activities and entertainment, and learn more about our local salmon.

A new and exciting element to the hatchery emerged when the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation struck up a partnership with the Puyallup School District.  Working with Stephanie Haegele, a teacher at Pope Elementary and the District’s STEM coordinator, the hatchery is slated to become a key field experience for the District’s 4th grade classes.  A curriculum surrounding salmon, habitat, and water quality will be developed with assistance from Pacific Education Institute.  Through the Districts environmental education program, we will also be contributing with lessons and activities for the students.

We were able to participate in this new partnership into practice during some recent field trips.  Local homeschool groups and Ms. Haegle’s Pope Elementary class visited the hatchery to learn about the Puyallup River watershed, salmon life cycle and habitat, and hatchery operations.  The students saw salmon returning to spawn in the stream, and were even allowed to feed some of the fish being raised at the hatchery. 

Chris Towe, the District’s Environmental Education Program Manager, hosted an activity that challenged students to recreate a salmon’s return journey from ocean to freshwater stream by navigating with their sense of smell.  For the most part, the students successfully returned to their spawning stream, although some strayed off into unknown territory.  We look forward to teaching more students about the amazing journey of local salmon and the importance of protecting their habitat with the hatchery and our partners.