Voices of Alaska: Baby salmon live here

  • By Erin Harrington
  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015 3:41pm
  • Opinion

Baby salmon campaign bridges social media and the great outdoors

As Alaskans, our connections to salmon run deep. They’re everywhere in our lives and in the art, poetry and imagery across the state. They sparkle on the end of our daughter’s fishing line, slam into our dip nets like torpedoes and cause the corks on our gill nets to dance. Salmon are all around us — in our freezers, favorite streams and the ocean waters where we play or earn our dollars. Rarely, though, do we take the opportunity to pause and look for them when they’re least apparent — as the wee little fry or alevin living in every wet corner of Alaska.

When I was a kid growing up in Kodiak, I used to see “minnows” in the unassuming creeks running in the greenbelt behind our neighborhood — miles from the nearest obvious spawning salmon run. I was much older when I finally discovered these little fish were actually baby salmon, and the tiny tangles of water and bog out there are part of Alaska’s big salmon “factory.” Only then did I realize how my outdoor playground and life as a child were overlaid on this resource, as are the lives of so many Alaskans across the state.

Baby Salmon Live Here. At The Salmon Project, we’re interested in exploring this knowledge to see how a little playful curiosity about our backyards, in combination with the powerful social media platform of Instagram, can help Alaskans share their own Salmon Love from their favorite locations where they live, work and play. Though technology is often criticized for replacing “real” human experiences with virtual realities, the “Baby Salmon Live Here” campaign aims for that sweet spot where the tech tool in our pocket opens up our eyes to the real world around us, and how people and creatures connect in the outdoors.

Here’s how it works. Any person with a smartphone can pull it out, launch the Instagram app and post a photo using the hashtag #BabySalmonLiveHere. Make sure your location is turned on and you “Add Photo to Map” in the app so your photo will pop up on the Alaska Salmon Love Map at www.babysalmon.fish. You can look for baby salmon when you’re out with your kids, and snap a cute photo of them peering into a creek. Or, catch a fun selfie at the harbor with schools of baby salmon darting around behind you. Presto! #BabySalmonLiveHere.

We’ve partnered with organizations across the state in fun and creative ways, as well. Over 60 community partners, including Girl Scouts of Alaska, Alaska Public Lands Information Centers and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, are incorporating baby salmon activities and the campaign challenges in their summer youth camps, outdoor education programs, community cleanup events, summer festivals, Elder outings and more. “Baby Salmon Live Here” is about exploration, adventure, discovery and connectivity. So, head over to the Alaska Salmon Love Map to see what this is starting to look like. Find posts from Fairbanks to Kodiak, Bristol Bay to Juneau — then add yours (you might even win a little salmon swag)!

Visit www.babysalmon.fish for participation information, downloadable materials and to view the map — and remember: Baby Salmon Live Here.

Erin Harrington is Executive Director of the The Salmon Project.

More in Opinion

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Alaska House makes the right decision on constitutionally guaranteed PFD

The proposed amendment would have elevated the PFD to a higher status than any other need in the state

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, a Soldotna Republican who co-chairs the House Education Committee, speaks during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Creating a road map to our shared future

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

An array of solar panels stand in the sunlight at Whistle Hill in Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, April 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Renewable Energy Fund: Key to Alaska’s clean economy transition

AEA will continue to strive to deliver affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy to provide a brighter future for all Alaskans.

Mount Redoubt can be seen acoss Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: An open letter to the HEA board of directors

Renewable energy is a viable option for Alaska

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks in opposition to an executive order that would abolish the Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives during a joint legislative session on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Making progress, passing bills

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Priya Helweg is the deputy regional director and executive officer for the Office of the Regional Director (ORD), Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Region 10. (Image via hhs.gov)
Opinion: Taking action on the maternal health crisis

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among high-income countries

Heidi Hedberg. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Health)
Opinion: Alaska’s public assistance division is on course to serve Alaskans in need more efficiently than ever

We are now able to provide in-person service at our offices in Bethel, Juneau, Kodiak, Kenai, Homer and Wasilla

Sara Hondel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Alaskan advocate shines light on Alzheimer’s crisis

In the heart of the nation’s capital next week, volunteers will champion the urgent need for legislative action to support those affected by Alzheimer’s

Most Read