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Salmon activities at Carkeek Park this Fall 2018

Each salmon carcass is sampled for a variety of standard data needed to determine spawning success.

CWCAP Spawning Survey & Count
Each Fall, Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project (CWCAP) enters the creeks and tributaries in the Pipers Creek Watershed to collect data from the salmon that naturally die after returning to the system. The primary objective is to determine the relative spawning success of salmon in Piper’s Creek and its largest tributary, Venema Creek. Spawning success over time is one measure of the health of the salmon run and the health of the creeks. Each Saturday beginning in early November until the end of the salmon run (1st or 2nd week of December) you will see CWCAP investigators collecting data from deceased salmon. Data is compiled and submitted to local agencies to help understand the status of salmon in our urban creeks. Say hello when you’re at the park on Saturdays each fall. We’ll be there between 10am and early-to-mid afternoon.

These two Chum salmon from the fall of 2017 moved from Pipers Creek to Venema Creek in often grueling search for mates.

Carkeek Park Salmon Stewards
Be sure to visit Carkeek Park on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov 3 to Dec 2, 2018 between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM when trained volunteer docents, or Carkeek Park Salmon Stewards, will be available along Piper’s Creek.  Sponsored by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), these friendly Salmon Stewards in great looking blue vests will show you where the salmon can best be viewed.  With an excellent information canopy and determined salmon seeking prime habitat and mates, you are bound to learn about salmon life cycles, watershed issues, and water quality fundamentals.  Tell your own fish stories.  Or just observe.  Most of all, bring your family and friends!

Select here for a Salmon Return summary for the past 4 years:

Carkeek Park Salmon Search
Beginning Oct 25 to Dec 7, 2018, more than 30 elementary public and private schools will take part in field trips to Carkeek Park to experience the remarkable return of salmon.  This annual program, sponsored by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), provides 3 educational activities that match Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with the timely arrival of salmon to the park.  Each school participates in a Salmon Dissection/Anatomy activity, a Salmon Ecosystem Simulation activity, and an Interpretive Creek Walk along Piper’s Creek.

Last Fall 2017, 25 schools participated with 1,256 students and 222 teachers, parents and chaperones attending.  Most of the Salmon Search schools will participate in the Salmon in the Schools — Seattle program beginning in January when they will raise salmon eggs in their schools.

Salmon in the Schools Training
On Saturday, October 27, 2018, a new group of public and private school teachers participated in training at Carkeek Park designed to prepare them to set up and maintain 55 gallon refrigerated salmon aquariums.  These 18 daring and committed teachers will not only raise 200-220 salmon eggs to the fry stage (early free-swimming), they will do so with the help of their students while integrating curriculum-based education around science, math, social studies, and art.

The 2019 annual Salmon in the Schools — Seattle program is 70 schools strong this year.  Schools choose to receive either Chum, Coho, or Chinook salmon based on, among other considerations, their school’s location relative to permitted release sites (e.g., Lake Washington, Puget Sound).

Of the 70 city-wide schools participating in Salmon in the Schools — Seattle, about two dozen have chosen Chum salmon and will therefore bring their salmon fry to Carkeek Park in April to be imprinted by CWCAP Salmon Imprint Steward volunteers for release in May.

Welcome the autumn and the salmon!

CWCAP is an Earthkeeper

For more information, visit: seattle.gov/parks/find/centers/carkeek-park-environmental-learning-center/camps

Every summer, Seattle Parks and the Associated Recreation Council (ARC) host summer camp at Carkeek Park fittingly named Carkeek Earthkeepers Day Camp.  CWCAP is tapped in to provide local salmon, forest, watershed, and water quality education.  This Summer 2018 (among much else going on in this exciting day camp!), CWCAP will help summer kids:

Explore the the relationships between fauna and flora with tree/shrub identification; forest structure; canopy layers; wildlife niches within forest layers; sit spots and observations; bird and mammal ID; riparian forest edge and relationship between water health and salmon; clues to tracking animals and scat; role of trees as keystone species in ecosystems.  Matthew Kuhar, a long time CWCAP member, brings his specific and long view to the wild urban life among us.

Examine and discuss the incredibly diverse, tide-dependent life at our seashore.  Puget Sound churns with high tides and low tides where this intertidal zone provides a dynamic opportunity for life and incredible adaptations.  Eric Running, a long time CWCAP member, knows a thing or two about life in the intertidal zones of our beaches and might even convince you to visit the Seattle Aquarium!

Look close and personal at the systems that salmon use to move, breath, eat, and reproduce.  Summer campers will open up real adult salmon made available for education and discuss how systems and organs work and how they compare to other animals among us.

Test and discuss the results of water quality indicators.  Many insects spend their formative years in our creeks.  Which insects live where and how many tell us very much about water quality.  Chemical and visual tests are crucial.  CWCAP will give kids the tools to question and get answers about the water that is among us.

For more information, visit: seattle.gov/parks/find/centers/carkeek-park-environmental-learning-center/camps