Peace Lutheran second-graders learn salmon spawning lesson

Peace Lutheran School second-graders took a field trip to Chico Creek Nov. 16 to release the salmon they raised in the  classroom. - Courtesy photo
Peace Lutheran School second-graders took a field trip to Chico Creek Nov. 16 to release the salmon they raised in the classroom.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Peace Lutheran School has been teaching students about the spawning habits of chum salmon for about 10 years now and the lessons culminate into a trip to Chico Creek.

This year was no exception.

This year’s class took its trip Nov. 16 and spent a few hours at the creek observing salmon in their natural habitat.

Students receive salmon eggs, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, to hatch and watch grow in the classroom. The class works on a science unit dealing with salmon and their unusual mating habits. They monitor the hatched fingerlings and observe their behavior while in the class, then take the trip to Chico Creek to release them.

This year, the second-grade students in Terri Gierke’s class were able to observe an adult salmon resting before it continued its fight upstream and groups of salmon waiting to die after their long battle upstream was over.

At one point Gierke pointed out some salmon eggs lying on the ground above the water line.

“These eggs will not hatch because they are not safely hidden in the gravel in the moving stream water,” she said.

The trip usually involves planting a tree to provide shade for the salmon in the summer sun, water testing to see how much oxygen is in Clear Creek and observing microscopic and small insect life in the stream, according to Gierke.

She said the most difficult aspect for most students is actually having to let go of the fish friends the class has made.

“The final goodbyes are always hard as (the children) watch their salmon swim away into the dark, larger-fish infested waters,” she said.

Overall, Gierke said the project is a wonderful learning experience for the whole family and continues to be one for the whole school, and she is very happy to be involved.

“I think I love it more than any of them,” she said.

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