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

The Alaska Capitol on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Alaska Voices: Legislature deserves credit

A special session shouldn’t have been necessary, but at least it was only one day instead of 30 days.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Alaska Voices: Please be safe, courteous, and legal as you fish in Alaska this summer

As you head out to hit the water this year, here are a few tips to help you have a safe and citation free season

An observer makes an entry in the Fish Map App on Prince of Wales Island. (Photo by Lee House/courtesy Salmon State)
Alaska Voices: Document Alaska rivers with new fish map app

The app provides a way for everyday Alaskans to document rivers home to wild salmon, whitefish, eulachon and other ocean-going fish — and earn money doing it

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Sustainability report is a greenwashing effort

Report leaves out “the not-so-pretty.”

Pictured is an adult Chinook salmon swimming in Ship Creek, Anchorage. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Voices of the Peninsula: Proactive measures key to king salmon recovery

I have been sport fishing king salmon along the eastern shores of Cook Inlet and in the Kenai River since 1977

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Honoring the fallen on Memorial Day

As we honor the men and women who fell in service to our nation, we must keep their memories alive through their stories

Shana Loshbaugh (Courtesy photo)
History conference seeking input from peninsula people

The Alaska Historical Society will hold its annual conference on the central peninsula this fall

Coach Dan Gensel (left) prepares to get his ear pierced to celebrate Soldotna High School’s first team-sport state championship on Friday, Febr. 12, 1993 in Soldotna, Alaska. Gensel, who led the Soldotna High School girls basketball team to victory, had promised his team earlier in the season that he would get his ear pierced if they won the state title. (Rusty Swan/Peninsula Clarion)
Remembering my friend, Dan Gensel

It’s a friendship that’s both fixed in time and eternal

(Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The false gods in America’s gun culture

HB 61 is a solution in search of a problem.

KPBSD Superintendent Clayton Holland
Reflecting on a year of growth and resilience

A message from the superintendent

Jim Cockrell, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. (Courtesy photo/Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)
Honoring the 69 peace officers who have died serving Alaskans

Alaska Peace Officer Memorial Day honors the brave men and women who have given their lives in the line of duty

Rep. Maxine Dibert (Image via Alaska State Legislature)
Opinion: The economic case for a significant investment in education

As our oil production and related revenue have declined, our investments in education have remained flat