Hello Salmon Volunteers! Thank you for helping us out! Here is some more information along with some pictures to help you get to the stream and feel comfortable with your role.
1. Arrival at School Please do check in at the office and get your volunteer sticker and then please come to the library to meet with either Kathy Ellison or Rebecca Major. They can tell you whether or not we need your help carrying a bucket of fish down to the stream. You may be asked to carry a bucket of fish down to the stream. This is especially the case if you are the first shift in the morning or the first shift after lunch break.
Here's the bucket ready for fish. It has an aerator pump for you to turn on. We won't fill it up with too much water so that it is easier for you to carry. You can add more water from the stream once you get to the site.
2. Find the class or head down to the stream to get situated: You are welcome to walk down with your student's class or walk ahead down to the stream to get set up for the class. Sometimes volunteers like to get situated before the class arrives. Classes are going to meet with Kathy Ellison at the Sakai Family Stone Circle. This is a circle of stones that is in the center of the playground behind the school. If we have started down to the stream, you might find us on the path.
3.Walk to the Stream: The class will walk slowly down to the stream because we stop to tell stories along the way. Here's how to get to the stream on your own. First... look for these climbing bars.
If you look to the right of these bars, you will see a path.
The path starts to the right of the chain link fence. Walk down it. You will eventually see a sign that says "Forest Learning Trail." DON'T CHOOSE THIS PATH.
It will take you a lot longer to get there if you choose this path.
Instead, continue on down the path that stays near the chain link fence. It will turn to the right and enter the forest near where the scotch broom ends. You will walk through the forest until you see the following sign:
This is the entrance to our Sakai Amphitheater. Walk down the stairs at this sign.
We have benches for the students to sit on underneath a canopy. It's also a great place for volunteers to get out of the rain if you are on a rainy day.
There is a rope attached to the trees on the right so that you can make your way down to the stream. You'll need to set up down there.
4. Set Up
If you have brought the bucket of fish down to the stream for us, please set the bucket into the stream with a rock weighing it down. That will keep the fish a little bit cooler while you wait for the classes. There is also a battery powered aerator that you can make sure is turned on. There's a black button that you depress to turn it on and off. Make sure that you have your small plastic tumblers that you will use to hand the kids a fish.
5. Scope out good release spots
It is best if students release in places where the stream is a little quieter. Look for small pools where you think that the kids can watch their fish for a bit after they release them. There are about three or four good places around this area. We don't want them to walk into the stream because of increasing sedimentation. We don't want them to walk underneath fallen trees. We don't want them to go too far away from our location in either direction.
6. Students arrive at the benches: When you see us arriving at the benches, you can start dipping out two fish into each cup. You can fill the cup up HALFWAY with stream water and then use the green net to catch the fish in the bucket. DON'T fill the cup up MORE THAN HALFWAY or you will wind up with fish that JUMP OUT OF THE CUP.
7. Students make their way down to the stream in twos and threes: You may want to get one of the parents to help kids get up and down. We are encouraging them to step carefully and not kick up too much dirt. We want them to use the same path and not forge their own trail.
8. Students release salmon: Kathy Ellison gives the students instructions on how to release salmon. But they may need reminders. They need to take the cup from you, take a moment to admire their fish, give their fish names and a piece of useful salmon advice (watch out for blue heron, etc...) Then they bend down next to the stream in a quiet place that you have suggested to them. They need to SLOWLY tip their cup UPSTREAM. If they do this carefully, they will see their fish jump out of the cup and start to swim on their own. (Here's an aside: Did you know that the salmon will always have their heads pointed upstream even as they are slowly migrating down the stream? They are always fighting the current and it is pretty amazing to see how quickly they pick it up!)
9. Send the kids back up: We do like to keep things moving. Each group can enjoy their fish for about two to three minutes.
10. After Release: Put the bucket back in the stream weighted down with a rock and estimate how many fish are left. We can call ahead for the next class if we need to bring down more fish with the next group. If you are the last group of the day, please release all of the remaining fish yourself and collect all of the materials and help by bringing them back up to the school.