Salmon in the Classroom

Our Salmon in the Classroom is currently on hiatus due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus. If you had a scheduled activity or maintenance plan for the next few weeks, we will not be able to enter schools to assist you. If you have further questions, please contact Katie via email as we will not be in our offices to answer the phones. 

SITC Coordinator:

Katie Woollven

360-882-0936 ext. 228   

Salmon in the Classroom

Connecting Students With

Salmon, Science, and Stewardship

Bring science to life at your school with Salmon in the Classroom!  

Each year we help over 50 teachers raise coho salmon at their schools in classroom aquariums.  As students take care of their salmon throughout the school year, they engage in project-based learning about salmon life cycle, biology, and habitat.  By the time students release their salmon into local streams at the end of the school year, they feel connected to their salmon and personally invested in protecting them.

We personally deliver 10 coho salmon "fingerlings" to each participating school.  We kick off the school year with a hands-on lesson where students work as scientists to determine what species they'll raise, using their own observations as evidence.

September - November

We bring fingerlings to each school

Before winter break, teachers release their salmon into permitted streams.  Students learn how their salmon tank is a model ecosystem, and compare it to the natural stream habitat.


Teachers release fingerlings 

Once the eggs are ready for transport, teachers pick up a stocking filled with 250 salmon eggs to raise in their tanks, which are covered to look like a dark gravel nest or redd.  Students use water temperature to predict the hatch date, and count the eggs to monitor survival rate in the tank.  


Teachers pick up 250 eggs

The newly hatched baby salmon are called alevin, and wriggle underneath the gravel to hide and finish developing.  Students observe the yolk sac getting smaller each week as the alevin "button up," and learn how to tell when the salmon are ready to begin feeding.


Students watch the life cycle unfold

The salmon fry have used up their yolk sacs and swim happily in the tanks.  Our educators visit classrooms to provide hands-on activities.  Students love investigating body systems of salmon during dissections, or exploring the water bugs our salmon eat in streams!

March - April 

We visit schools with more activities

After caring for their salmon all year, students release their fish into the local watershed during a 2-hr fish release field trip celebration.  Students explore the local habitat and look for evidence of a healthy stream before releasing their fish.

May - June

Students release their fish!

Questions? Contact our Salmon in the Classroom Coordinator, Katie by email or at 360-882-0936 ext. 228

Salmon in the Classroom is funded by Clark Public Utilities and managed by Columbia Springs. It was initially developed in 1991 by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide opportunities for environmental education. WDFW continues to provide the fish for the program.

clark public utilities logo
washington department of fish and wildlife logo
Salmon in the Classroom
School Year Timeline

Want to know more about how SITC supports science learning throughout the school year?  Take a look at our timeline below!

Join Our Program

Interested in joining SITC?  First, read our "Steps for Joining" to learn more.  Next, submit your Program Application Form by March 31st for consideration for the following school year.  SITC staff will notify you when your application form is received, and again when your permit from WDFW is approved.  After that, we’ll schedule an orientation meeting and tank set-up date! All materials are generously provided by Clark Public Utilities.  We look forward to working with you!

Teacher Resources


Are you a current SITC participant?  Find everything you need on our Teacher Resources page, whether you're looking for curriculum resources, salmon care guides, or our list of program offerings for your next classroom visit.  Discover the materials SITC teachers use to promote inquiry, NGSS learning, and a sense of stewardship among students.  

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Columbia Springs strives to offer a unique setting and educational experiences that foster a greater awareness of the natural world and inspire stewardship.


We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity.
Our ID number is 91-2127405.

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