The Nisqually River Education Project, South Sound GREEN and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium are offering the first ever Climate Resiliency Fellows. This program aims to build a dynamic community of engaged teachers committed to engaging their students in learning about and taking action in local climate change issues and climate resiliency projects. The Fellows program is offered as a part of a 3 year, environmental literacy program supported by NOAA. Teachers in the program meet quarterly to receive curriculum support and brainstorm ideas for action projects that address local issues. Becky Hendrickson is a teacher at Shining Mountain Elementary and one of our Fellows participating this year. Here, she shares her class’ experience releasing salmon they raised in their very own classroom and hosting a family science night! Thank you, Becky, for a great blog!
On April 11th my class said goodbye to 235 salmon fry they had been raising in the classroom. We received 250 coho salmon eggs from Voight Creek Hatchery the first week of December. Students had a hands-on opportunity to observe the life cycle of the salmon as the eggs hatched, egg sacs disappeared and the fry began to eat food.
Students also participated in monitoring water temperature and water quality in the aquarium. As spring approached we knew it was time to say goodbye. We released our salmon at Clarks Creek in Puyallup. Each student had an opportunity to release 1 or more of the salmon and say a special goodbye.
While students took turns releasing the salmon, the rest of the class participated in a macroinvertebrate study lead by Ryan Misely from Pierce County Public Works & Utilities. Each student had an opportunity to collect a macroinvertebrate sample. Next they used a magnifier to examine the water sample they collected while accessing an identification chart to determine what macroinvertebrates live in Clarks Creek and what their presence indicates about the water quality. I’ve been raising salmon in the classroom for about 7 years. It is one of the best things I have done in my teaching career. After taking care of the salmon for 4-5 months, students become invested in learning about as well as taking care of the environment. It becomes a daily practice as opposed to a series of lessons.
Science Funtastic Family Night
April 13, 2017
In honor of Earth Day, Shining Mountain Elementary held a family science night. There was an environmental theme with a few engineering projects thrown in. 150 people attended the event. Some of the stations families visited were a macroinvertebrate study, incredible journey-water cycle, recycle relay, compost critters lab, ecologist footprint calculator, enviroscape model, and water cycle model. This event was made possible through collaboration with Pierce County Public Works & Utilities. We couldn’t have done it without their support. Feedback from families was very positive and I’m looking forward to making this an annual earth day event.