In mid November, SFREC partnered with Grass Valley Charter School and Twin Ridges Home Study by bringing students to the center to catch a glimpse of salmon spawning in the Lower Yuba River. The opportunity to observe salmon spawn is a way for students to see the last stage of the unique salmon life cycle and learn about the important habitat that our local waterways provide to this species.
Students are out in the "ocean" during the adult stage trying to find "food" before they head back to home streams to spawn. This type of play can help to solidify learning for young students.
Kindergarteners from GVCS visited over two days for a fun-filled science field day. Students were able to hunt for benthic macroinvertebrates, look at decaying salmon carcasses, search for salmon redds (the nests that they build to lay their eggs), and understand the challenging lives that salmon have by acting out the stages of their life cycle. Students loved their field day, saying they "couldn't choose a favorite thing, it was all so fun!" Another student noted that "I am happy to be a human. Being a salmon seems hard."
Students of all ages from Twin Ridges Home Study visited on another field day. They were led on an interpretive hike where they learned not only about salmon, but about the history of the land around the river. This includes looking at the gravel piles created by historic mining and learning about how the land is now used for grazing cattle.
Students build a fake redd to hold their eggs. To make sure their eggs would be able to safely hatch they thought about how to build a redd that would protect their eggs.
The opportunity to see these natural wonders first hand can have a lasting impact on student learning. SFREC is dedicated to increasing the number of hands-on science field days it offers to local students. This spring we will be offering field science trips for 4th and 5th graders where they will learn about a variety of science concepts and field science techniques. For more information about these field science days please contact Ali Stefancich at firstname.lastname@example.org.