Helping Raíces a Alas in Molalla

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Helping Raíces a Alas in Molalla

Each fall and winter, dedicated Steelheader volunteers deliver salmon eggs to classrooms around the Portland area through Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fish Eggs to Fry Program. Students observe and learn about salmon lifecycles and riparian habitats before releasing fry into rivers to begin their journey to the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to working with classrooms, I partnered with OSU-Extension Service, Clackamas County to lead a bilingual, after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) club through the Fish Eggs to Fry Program. Thirty-four eager, Latino 4th-8th graders joined the Roots to Wings (Raíces a Alas) Club in Molalla, Oregon.

The non-formal setting of the after-school club lent itself to chaos (but the fun kind!) and enthusiasm shown by the kids was off the charts! They diligently performed water quality tests every day after hopping off the school bus and once, I received a frantic phone call because the dissolved oxygen levels of the tank dipped slightly.

Club members and their families spent a fun, chilly Saturday in mid-October at Eagle Fern Park performing the same water quality tests in Eagle Creek as they perform on the aquarium and looking for macro-invertebrates (we did find a few caddisflies and stoneflies, but a few accidentally trapped tadpoles were the real celebrities).

The day wrapped up with a pizza party after a short hike through old-growth cedar trees to learn how the forest protects the salmon by keeping the river healthy. Just last week we released about 250 fry into the Molalla River! Kids were sad to see them go, but excited for the salmon to begin their journey to the Pacific Ocean. Although the program is complete, we hope to host a fishing clinic for club members and their families in late spring!

Molly Orr
Education Coordinator – Association of Northwest Steelheaders

If you are interested in including salmon and trout lifecycle in your curriculum with a fish tank in your classroom and fun and educational field-trips in our river systems, contact office@anws.org to find out how the Northwest Steelheaders can help you get started.

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