Salmon Search finds fish in an outdoor classroom

Each November, nearly 30 public and private elementary schools kick off their participation in Salmon in the Schools ( by visiting Carkeek Park.  Here they observe, discuss, and learn in a great outdoor classroom about water quality and salmon returning to spawn.

With organizational and educational programming support from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), more than 2 dozen field trips are arranged for schools in the Salmon in the Schools program.  By the end of the fall Chum salmon run at Carkeek Park, more than 1,200 elementary schools kids understand, appreciate and are enthusiastically prepared to hatch 200-250 salmon eggs and raise them in their schools’ 55 gallon chilled aquariums.  What better way is there to get ready than to be so near so many salmon returning to spawn!  The adult fish swimming in these creeks were released 3-5 years ago here at Carkeek Park.  It is possible that some of them might have been raised by these schools —a possibility that astonishes these young minds!

Each of the schools in the following table took field trips to Carkeek  Park to participate in 3 educational stations:

  • Hooks & Ladders — Salmon Ecosystem Simulation, models, and variables
  • Creek Walk — salmon life cycle and habitat observations; stormwater and water quality education 
  • Salmon Dissection — biological systems, life cycles, and comparative anatomy

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