YES Salmon Hatchery Grant
Fourth grade students from Yarmouth Elementary School (YES) released 200 eight-week old salmon fry into the Royal River in New Gloucester, many miles upriver from their school. Students studied the endangered Atlantic salmon since their arrival as eggs in early February.
The eggs incubated for several weeks in a cold-water fish tank (4ºC or 39ºF) in the classroom before they hatched as alevin in mid-March. Students observed fish development and traits, measured their size, and recorded the water temperature and pH.
The salmon egg hatchery provided an ideal model for study of the life cycle, traits, behavior and adaptations of organisms, and offered a hands-on, unique, and fun experience for students.
“It’s fun to watch and take care of the eggs. And it’s so much better than looking at pictures in books or on the computer,” said Annie Hunter, a 4th grade student.
Rosie Lenehan, one of the 4th grade teachers, shared some thoughts. “The Salmon Hatchery grant provided students an opportunity to observe the stages of the life cycle in real time, and a hands-on experience with live organisms. Also, the students participated in a larger effort to revive an endangered species, which has many important ties to Maine. It was an engaging and meaningful experience.”
Dan LeBlond, from the Saco River Salmon Club, delivered the eggs and helped with the project as part of the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Fish Friends Program, which hopes to educate students about the endangered Atlantic salmon, their habitat, and restoration efforts.
Debbie Landry, STEM educator and research scientist, led the project, which was funded by a $1,000.00 grant in the fall. Approximately 120 students got to take part in this hands-on learning.
WGME covered the salmon release event – watch it here!
Flight Club (another YEF grant!) members filmed the salmon release with the drones they learned to fly and made a short movie with Mrs. Wolinsky.