Georgia Park Elementary students released coho fry into Simms Creek last week as part of a program about the salmon life cycle.
First-grade teacher Bev Marisco has been doing the program in the Campbell River School District for 20 years.
“There’s a whole generation of kids that know all about salmon because of this program,” she said.
It starts with a “live egg take” during a tour at the Quinsam Hatchery in the fall, as the coho swim up the river.
This involves someone at the hatchery squeezing eggs from the belly of a live female fish into a bag. The milt – fish semen – of a male fish is also squeezed into a separate bag.
Back in the classroom, it’s combined in a bowl with a cup of water from a fish tank.
“It’s like a recipe for life,” Marisco said.
During the winter, the eggs hatch into alevin, meaning newly-spawned fish that carry yolk-sacs they gradually absorb.
In the springtime, the young fish are released into the creek. For the kids, it’s a chance to get a sense of stewardship for the watershed.
“It’s about caring for our world, about taking care of our world,” Marisco said.
The release involved 22 students, and it took place on a rainy Friday, April 5.
“It was a great day to be a fish because it was pouring rain,” she said.