Kenai Peninsula elementary schoolers will begin their annual Salmon in the Classroom event next week.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game representatives will conduct presentations at coho salmon egg takes on Oct. 11 at Bear Creek, near Seward, and Oct. 12 at the Anchor River, in Anchor Point.
Fishery Biologist Lucas Stumpf said the presentations will include ADF&G staff taking a male and a female coho — harvesting and fertilizing the eggs in front of the teachers and students.
“Then, they are able to take those eggs — that they saw get fertilized — and they take them back with them in a container back to their school,” Stumpf said.
A press release from ADF&G says around 550 students from local schools are registered to attend these presentations.
The purpose of the event is to educate students about the life cycle of salmon, as well as egg fertilization, anatomy, identification and habitats. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the egg takes.
Beyond the presentations, Stumpf said attendees of the Bear Creek session will get to visit the Bear Creek weir and learn about it. At both locations, there will be other education stations and displays by partnered organizations: Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association and Kenai Watershed Forum.
After the egg takes, each class will take around 200 eggs back to their classroom to observe as they develop into fry.
The eggs are placed into specialized aquariums, Stumpf said, where the water is kept cold and oxygenated.
The eggs will develop from green eggs to eyed eggs, then into alevin. The fish should be at that stage around Christmastime.
The release says students will continue to learn about the salmon in their classrooms through the school year, until the fish develop into fry and are released into ADF&G approved lakes in the spring.
Stumpf said 29 Kenai Peninsula schools are participating, with 18 attending at the egg takes. Classes who cannot attend the presentations in Seward and Anchor Point will have eggs delivered to their school.
ADF&G has been putting Salmon in the Classroom for more than 20 years, Stumpf said.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org.