On November 15th, fifth graders visited the Cronin Salmon Station in Sunderland as the kick-off to our endangered species unit. We began with an informative introductory discussion with Mickey Novak, in which we learned about the history of the salmon population in the Connecticut River watershed.
Students were later invited to put on waders, get in one of the tanks, and attempt to catch salmon. They were surprised by how strong the salmon were, and how difficult they were to catch! (The salmon seemed unperturbed by their visitors).
After viewing fertilized salmon eggs and one-year-old salmon indoors, we proceeded outdoors. We watched as a biologist caught salmon, decided if it was male, female, or barren, and in some cases, harvested eggs from the females. Students became adept at identifying the fish before the biologist did!
Later this year, our class will raise salmon in the classroom, prior to releasing them into a tributary of the Connecticut River as part of this ongoing restoration project.