Monday, December 3, 2012 at 06:12PM
When I began working for FISH in 1998, it was a young non-profit organization focused mainly on rebuilding the historic hatchery and providing educational programming for students during the fall spawning season. How we have grown!
The rebuilding project has been accomplished with such remarkable results, and FISH can devote its full attention to the year-round education programs that have been so popular with schools and the public. As an environmental and sustainability advocate, I very much appreciate the FREE training and experience I receive as a FISH member and volunteer. I am constantly amazed how this remarkable organization, with very limited resources, remains dedicated to providing FREE classes to both public and private schools throughout the Puget Sound region, teaching all levels of students about the extraordinary biology and lifecycle of the salmon as well as their habitat needs and how to be good stewards of our watersheds.
All day, every day, during the fall spawning season, volunteer docents provide in-depth tours of the hatchery for students, and act as naturalists, answering questions and interpreting the unique behavior of these remarkable fish for thousands of visitors from all over the world. Scholarly lectures and multiple training opportunities are open to all for continuing education about the issues and progress surrounding salmon recovery. Thanks to an incredibly dedicated and passionate staff, the programming grows richer and reaches more people every year.
It is so fulfilling for me to introduce urban kids to the wonders of the natural environment, and to see them start thinking about the consequences of their actions. It is even better to see those kids come back to the hatchery on the weekend, dragging their parents and grandparents and little brothers and sisters, and sharing their own excitement about the captivating fish. From dissecting a salmon for school science fairs to leading a habitat hike along Issaquah Creek, I appreciate the opportunity to share the wonders of our natural environment and ideas for how salmon and people can live together in a mutually beneficial relationship. This one-of-a-kind partnership among the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the City of Issaquah and FISH provides invaluable conservation lessons that echo throughout the community.
As a FISH member, donor and volunteer, I encourage you to help FISH fulfill its mission of providing free access to all for an environmental lesson that goes far beyond our amazing salmon.