Quadra Kids visit the EcoCentre

On Thursday, August the 2nd, 2012, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend three hours with an exciting and energetic bunch of Quadra Kids! Upon their arrival I promptly sent them out onto the Woodland Trail to do a scavenger hunt. They found an owl hiding in the trees, ate huckleberries that look strikingly similar to salmon roe, and encountered a condo for critters! After some of their energy had been exerted, I brought them into our educational EcoCentre for some hands-on learning.
  Our “new” hatchery side has recently gained an interactive female Coho friend. With her help, I explored the life cycle of the salmon and how our hatchery once contributed to this process. 

We opened up our female Coho friend and out came her eggs (red beads)! We added “milt” (flour and water) to the eggs and “fertilized” them.

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The wonderful unzipping Coho that Adrienne and her Grandma made!


Adrienne unzipping her Coho to let the eggs out

Next, we made our way through the egg trays and removed the “dead” eggs. The kids had a lot of fun tweezing and sucking the imitation dead eggs out with their hatchery tools.


Adrienne demonstrates picking out dead eggs from the incubator trays

After this, we headed back outside for some Pond exploration. With help from nets, buckets and my handy waders, we discovered a diversity of pond life that our resident Coho fry would be happy to eat. 


Adrienne delving about in the pond for bugs to share with the kids!

Of particular interest, the Kids found Caddisfly larva, which lives in a tube or case of twigs and wood that they create for themselves. We also found water striders, shrimp-like amphipods and mosquito larvae. At the very end, we got to feed the 250 Coho fry that come from the Quinsam Hatchery and actually caught one of them! We studied its orangey red fins, parr marks, and how its body colour would help it to blend into its natural environment. We made sure to put all of our insect buddies and the Coho fry back into the Pond.


Fishing for coho fry and insects at the demonstration habitat pond

 The Kids needed to eat, and I had some other visitors to tour around the site. Once their bellies were full and I was free to give them my full attention, we finished their visit by creating a Watershed in the Sand Tray room. The Kids were given only a certain amount of “salmon roe” within their watershed that they had to protect while I attempted to thwart them. I dumped pollution on their roe, logged near their salmon spawning streambed, and washed them out with floods of water and silt. Needless to say, they were not impressed by my destructive activities, but were able to find amazing solutions by working together and experimentation. 

I have to say; it was rewarding and educational for both sides on Thursday. I am so glad that they visited me and brightened up my summer with their presence! Thanks Quadra Kids; and tell all of your friends!

Adrienne Mann at the Quadra Salmon EcoCentre