Donna Gallamore’s class at Kent Elementary has been raising and releasing salmon for 10 years now.
Thanks to a recent funding announcement by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, her grade 6 students will have an easier time taking salmon from egg to release. The $1,160 grant will allow the school to buy a classroom salmon incubator system.
Gallamore says she used an ice bottle system for many years, which meant coming into the classroom three times a day, seven days a week. After the DFO loaned the school a refrigeration unit, it made the project much easier. Now with their own unit, Gallamore has all the resources needed at her fingertips to teach the next generation about salmon and stream protection.
“it’s a really good thing for the kids to learn about the streams – about keeping them clean, and what it takes to keep the fish alive,” shares Gallamore.
The grade six class typically gets the eggs at the end of January, raises them through until about April then releases them into the Chehalis River. Other classes have a chance to observe the growth of the salmonids and help with the release too.
According to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the total value of the project including volunteer time and community fundraising is over $5,000. The foundation’s Community Salmon Program supports habitat stewardship, Pacific salmon enhancement and watershed education, and is funded primarily from sales of the federal government’s Salmon Conservation Stamp.
“We are pleased to support DFO’s Salmonids in the Classroom education program at Kent Elementary school because it provides “hands on” education about salmon for students,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
The foundation’s Community Salmon Program supports community groups, volunteers and First Nations across the province. All give countless hours each year to monitor watersheds, develop and implement habitat rehabilitation projects, and educate communities about the conservation and protection of salmon. The program requires grantees to find matching funds for projects. On average, grantees raise an additional $6 for every dollar they receive through additional fundraising for donations of in-kind and money at the community level.
The majority of funds for the Community Salmon Program were generated through sales of the federal Salmon Conservation Stamp. The Salmon Conservation Stamp is a decal that must be purchased annually by anglers if they wish to keep Pacific salmon caught in saltwater off of Canada’s West Coast. Currently all proceeds from the $6 dollar stamp are returned to British Columbia through the Foundation, generating about $1 million for community grants annually.
In addition to funds generated from the sales of the federal “Salmon Stamp”, the grants are made possible by Pacific Salmon Foundation fundraising dinners, auctions and donations from individuals, foundations and businesses. Several businesses and foundations also contribute to the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s community salmon program.
“The Community Salmon Program captures the essence of what we are trying to do at the Foundation,” concluded Riddell. “Government, business, First Nations and volunteers all working together – that is the best way to ensure the future of wild Pacific salmon.”