Students from Georgia Park Elementary took part in a coho fry release at Simms Creek in Campbell River on April 5, 2019. Photo by Dina Zipser

Campbell River students learn about cycle of life during coho fry release

‘It’s about caring for our world,’ says Georgia Park Elementary teacher

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.

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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.


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Students from Georgia Park Elementary took part in a coho fry release at Simms Creek in Campbell River on April 5, 2019. Photo by Bev Marisco

Students from Georgia Park Elementary took part in a coho fry release at Simms Creek in Campbell River on April 5, 2019. Teacher Bev Marisco is shown at left. Photo by Dina Zipser

Students from Georgia Park Elementary took part in a coho fry release at Simms Creek in Campbell River on April 5, 2019. Photo by Jonathan Harvey