Salmon in the Classroom

Most people don’t realize when they are battling a big king salmon on a Traverse City fishing charter, that it could be a fish introduced to the ecosystem through a 6th grade student somewhere in the state of Michigan. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources has developed an awesome hands-on program to get students involved in learning the life cycle of a salmon from the egg stage until they are ready to be released in a river.

Captain Jared was fortunate enough to actually participate in this program as a 6th grade student and his teacher mom has been able to offer this opportunity to her students for almost 10 years! With this firsthand experience, we at Megabite Fishing Charters definitely understand how valuable this program is in educating students on such a big part of our local tourist economy, and it sure can make a typical school setting much more enjoyable.

Teacher Training

Once a teacher is accepted into the program, they will go through a professional development day with the DNR where they learn how to properly care for the salmon as well as some important lessons to teach their students.

At this time a big aquarium is set up in the classroom and the teacher will get eggs for the year. These eggs will be placed in the aquarium and come fall, they will be baby salmon ready to be released. The entire process is quite a bit of work as the aquarium does require regular cleanings but that work is definitely worth it for the reward. Teachers are able to use this process as a huge learning experience for their students in multiple different ways. Not only can they incorporate it into actual science lessons, the DNR also likes teachers to focus on how important this fishery is. Along with this, encouraging fishing and wildlife management becomes a major topic.

In May, the fish were ready to be released the river system. This turns into a classroom fieldtrip to the river where each student gets to release their own fish and watch it swim away to be caught by a Megabite customer a few years later. To learn more about the entire process, visit: Salmon in the Classroom Start Up Guide

What Kids Learn

Captain Jared’s interest in salmon truly became real when he was introduced to this program. Growing up in the outdoors, it was very beneficial for him to start learning about wildlife management, and how important it is for fisheries. It also provides some very valuable lessons that would never be obtained through the typical pencil and paper classroom experience.

Responsibility and accountability were extremely important when raising these fish. Captain Jared’s mom is very thankful for the opportunity to teach through this program. It has allowed her to focus on more than a textbook in her lessons which can truly make a difference in getting concepts to sink in with her students.

Next time you are out on a fishing charter in Traverse City, don’t forget where those hard battling fish come from! And don’t hesitate to ask Captain Jared more questions about his experience with this program!