With a visit from more than 50 Highland Park Elementary fourth-graders, Fauntleroy Creek has seen the last of this year’s student groups releasing school-raised salmon. But next weekend, you get the chance to experience it yourself! More on that shortly. First – more on this morning’s visit and what’s happened in the past month-plus.
Scheduler/coordinator Judy Pickens provided the stats: This was one of 21 school releases, between April 26th (when we were there to cover Alki Elementary fifth-graders’ visit) and today. That’s 662 students plus 232 adults and younger siblings, releasing ~2,000 fry!
The fish are raised in 13 salmon tanks in area schools, mostly by fourth- and fifth-graders, though three preschools released fish provided by the Fauntleroy Watershed Council, via volunteer fish rearer Jack Lawless. At creekside today while we were there was safety officer/amateur entomologist Pete Draughon; other team members throughout the season, Judy tells us, included regulars Dennis Hinton (fish dipper) and Shannon Ninburg (habitat-exploration specialist) plus three helpers who were all there today: forest steward Peggy Cummings, tank volunteer Phil Sweetland, and tank technician Nancie Hernandez, who we photographed showing students some of the insects living in the forest:
This is the first year Highland Park students have released salmon into the creek. One by one, the students got to set fry free, some with a cheery “Goodbye, little fishy!” There’s always a chance that “little fishy” will return. First, volunteers monitor out-migration – between March 15th and May 30th this year, via soft traps (built by Steev Ward) in the upper and lower creek, Dennis and Pete counted 45 smolts making it to salt water, Judy reports.
YOUR TURN! Next Saturday, June 9th, 1-3 pm, you’re invited to come release a fry – Jack has 200 left this year. Visit the big bridge in Fauntleroy Park [north entrance] for what is billed as:
An all-ages thank-you for donors to the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund and an opportunity for anyone interested to learn more about salmon, habitat, and the fund.
Judy, Dennis, Pete, and Phil will be there to guide you. Find out about the Stewardship Fund here.