Central Kitsap’s Salmon in the Classroom program been going on longer than the one sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. So when I heard that the state’s Salmon in the Classroom program was being eliminated for budget reasons, I had a hunch that it might not affect Central Kitsap schools.
“The program was too important to us to have it rely on the vagaries of state funding,” Tex Lewis told me for a story in today’s Kitsap Sun.
Lewis is a leader with the Clear Creek Task Force, which took over the program when the Central Kitsap Kiwanis Club disbanded. (See Brynn Grimley’s July 7 story in the Kitsap Sun.)
Reporter Susan Gilmore’s article in the Seattle Times described how the state was eliminating its Salmon in the Classroom program to save more than $200,000 a year for Fish and Wildlife. The program involves environmental education for an estimated 40,000 students each year, she reported.
Paul Dorn, salmon recovery coordinator for the Suquamish Tribe,
told me that the state’s program has supported a few aquariums in
Kitsap County, and he hopes the tribe can pick up the cost for
continuing and possibly expanding the program outside of Central
Kitsap. Check out my story in the
Kitsap Sun for details.
Central Kitsap’s Salmon in the Classroom program is an institution in these parts. Students become involved in watching the eggs hatch and the fish grow. They learn about the life cycle of salmon and what the fish need to survive in the wild.
When I think of the program, I can’t help but recall the tiny two-headed salmon discovered in an aquarium in a science classroom at Ridgetop Junior High School. The year was 2002, and the fish lived an amazing four months. Teacher Terry Donison named the two-headed fish “Sam and Ella.” See reporter Marietta Nelson’s story in the Kitsap Sun.
Last year at Woodlands Elementary, another two-headed salmon appeared. Marietta Nelson, who had returned to the Kitsap Sun after several years away, reported the second story as well. A few days later, I offered some observations in Water Ways.
There are numerous environmental education programs taking place in Kitsap County and across the state, as I reported in a story published on Earth Day last April. But one only needs to talk to the students and teachers to know that Salmon in the Classroom has proven valuable year after year.