Salmon in the Schools carries on in West Seattle, despite the pandemic

(WSB photos)

Despite the disruption in school operations, the pandemic isn’t stopping the Salmon in the Schools program. Local volunteer organizers Judy Pickens and Phil Sweetland obtained hatchery eggs this week for participating teachers, and arranged a distanced pickup from their home near Fauntleroy Creek, into which fry will be released this spring.

Stopping by while we visited for a photo were Rita Gazewood, first-grade teacher at Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Claudia Rodriguez, preschool teacher at The Cove School. In “normal” years, volunteers led by Phil and Judy deliver the eggs to schools.

This year, Judy tells WSB, “The eggs are destined for eight tanks – four elementaries, three preschools, and the volunteer who rears fish for schools that have crop failures. Some teachers and their tank volunteers have moved their tanks into garages and others have arranged access to their tanks in school buildings. All will be following COVID protocols to keep themselves safe while engaging students remotely in the rearing process. If all goes well, at least 1,300 coho fry will be ready to release into upper Fauntleroy Creek in May. They will have the habitat to themselves as we had no spawning last fall to produce ‘home hatch’ in the lower creek.”

3 Replies to "Salmon in the Schools carries on in West Seattle, despite the pandemic"

  • AL January 6, 2021 (11:54 am)

    When I was driving a school bus annually I would take kids on feild trips to local streams to release the fry that hatched in their school. It was fascinating to watch how engrossed and interested the kids were, and so caring about ‘their babies’.This is a fantastic program for our world, ecosystem and communities, so glad COVID isn’t stopping this all-important program!!

  • Merrily Stover January 6, 2021 (9:24 pm)

    Well done, Judy and Phil!  Thanks keeping this innovative and important program going! 

  • thee January 7, 2021 (8:30 am)

    I hope we’re explaining to the children the failures that led to the “need” for hatchery salmon and that, ultimately, hatchery salmon are detrimental to wild salmon populations and are not a solution. 

Sorry, comment time is over.