Jul 15, 2015

World Salmon Council

Next Generation Salmon Advocates
I moved back to the Pacific Northwest three years ago specifically to be close to salmon and steelhead, and I love to share my passion with others.  I was fortunate to be put in contact with the World Salmon Council soon after I moved here.  Through this non-profit organization, I have been able to share my love for salmon with students from throughout the region in a hands-on way that leaves a lasting impact on students for years. 

I would love to take this time to share what I love with the fly-fishing community and strongly urge anyone that can to take a day or two and volunteer to help students experience wild salmon; it will create an everlasting memory that can help students become conservation-minded individuals for the rest of their lives. 

This program has been recognized for its excellence by former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, the Oregon Statesman-Journal, and has partnered with Portland General Electric, Trout Unlimited, The Pacific State Marine Fisheries Commission, The Bureau of Land Management, The US Forest Service, The US Geologic Survey, US Fish & Wildlife and many, many more.  There is definitely room for you to join us too for another great season of introducing Salmon to the next generation. 

The Salmon Watch environmental education program teaches middle and high school students about the importance of wild salmon conservation in watershed management. The program is designed to instill in students and other participants a deeper appreciation of their wild salmon heritage and the importance of being well-informed and responsible citizens. Salmon Watch touches the hearts and minds of children to save the wild salmon.

Salmon Watch was founded by Oregon Trout (later The Freshwater Trust) in 1993. Over the past two decades, the program has educated more than 60,000 schoolchildren in Oregon. The program was discontinued by The Freshwater Trust at the end of 2010 (due to a shift in organizational mission) and is now back by popular demand under the auspices of World Salmon Council.

Salmon Spirit
Using salmon as the focal point, Salmon Watch provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary education in the classroom, field study and in-stream observation, and community service projects.

The curriculum incorporates diverse perspectives and innovative learning designed to enhance the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills of students and other participants.

On field trips, students conduct hands-on activities to understand salmon biology, identify macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects), conduct water quality monitoring, explore riparian zones and collect and disseminate data. This gives teachers a path to bridge field experiences back into the classroom and facilitate STEM educational opportunities.

Salmon-friendly projects in which students participate throughout the school year include hands-on stream restoration efforts, salmon spawning surveys, teaching younger kids about salmon, making presentations to community groups, art projects, installing rain catchment systems, and many other diverse activities chosen by the teachers and students.

If we want our children as adults to value their natural heritage and to make informed and thoughtful decisions about natural resource issues, we must enable them to understand and relate to the natural world on a personal level.
Our youth, however, live increasingly urban and technological lives, isolated from the natural environment. Salmon Watch enables students to connect with nature and experience the relationships of humans to their environment through learning about the life cycle of wild salmon.

Salmon Watch also inspires hundreds of public agency experts and others to volunteer as field trip station educators, sharing their expertise and real-world experiences. These volunteers in turn help students to increase their knowledge of how scientific research in ecology is done. Engaging with these professionals also allows students to learn about diverse natural resource and STEM career opportunities.

Overall, Salmon Watch serves as a successful model of cost-effective collaboration among private and public organizations working together to enhance education as well as protect salmon populations and the ecosystems that sustain them.

I again, strongly urge you to check out www.worlsalmoncouncil.org and come out to volunteer with any of our field trips this fall!  Training sessions occur throughout the summer.  If you have any questions, call Andrew at the Gorge Fly Shop (541) 386-6977 or email Alyssa Thornburg, Program Coordinator at alyssa@worldsalmoncouncil.org

Thank you so much and we’ll see you in the fall!

Andrew Perrault

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