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Grantee Highlight: Salmon Watch

"...we have seen firsthand the positive educational benefits that Salmon Watch has provided to teachers, students, other program participants, and communities throughout Oregon."

-- James Capurso,

Regional Fisheries Biologist | US Forest Service

In 2018 we had the privilege of awarding $41,892 to education program in Oregon. One of those programs has beautifully tied together youth education with our state's natural resources, Salmon Watch.

Salmon Watch was founded by Oregon Trout (later The Freshwater Trust) in 1993. The program was re-established by The World Salmon Council in 2013 to serve communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Over the past two decades, the program has educated more than 60,000 schoolchildren in Oregon.

Salmon Watch serves as a successful model of cost-effective collaboration among public and private organizations working together to enhance education as well as protect salmon populations and the ecosystems that sustain them. Teaching middle and high school students about the importance of wild salmon conservation in watershed management; the program is designed to instill in students a deeper appreciation of Oregon's wild salmon heritage and the importance of being well-informed citizens.

"The water quality testing station was my favorite because I felt like a true scientist!"

-- Aiden, 6th grade

Salmon Watch provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary education in the classroom, field study, 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, art projects, making presentations to community groups and other youth, 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. 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.

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

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